9 January 2013 – United Arab Emirates based renewable energy company Masdar began construction work on its 15 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Mauritania during December 2012.

The scheme will see the construction of a 15 MW solar PV facility, which will amount to 10% of Mauritania’s total generation capacity when completed. Head of special projects at Masdar, Rashed Al Dhaheri, says that the project will be built in accordance with the highest international standards and the plant would meet 6% of total energy demand within the country. The plant will account for 10% of the country’s power generation capacity.

Mauritania currently has an installed electricity generation base of 144 MW, largely supplied by diesel generators. Whilst solar is the focus of this scheme, the country’s wind energy potential has been assessed as being particularly significant – with the potential to produce four times the country’s annual demand for energy.

The Masdar project is the first utility-scale solar power installation in Mauritania. The country currently faces severe energy shortages and has a low electrification rate of 60%.

"Mauritania has some of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, making it an ideal place for solar power installations," Taleb Ould Abdivall, Mauritania’s minister of petroleum, energy and mines says.