The Mauritanian energy minister has signed a contract for the construction of seven solar photovoltaic (PV) projects which are estimated to reach completion by Q1 in 2016.

Mohamed Ould Khouna, minister of petroleum, energy and mines signed the agreement with Abu Dhabi’s Masdar to develop the projects which will have a total generation capacity of 12MW, The African review reported.

The seven towns selected to be installed with a solar plant include Boutilimit, Aleg, Aioune, Akjoujt, Atar, Al Shami and Boulenour.

The chairman of Masdar, Sultan Al Jaber, said, “Projects such as these unlock significant economic and social benefits by providing more reliable and efficient local sources of electricity”.

In total the plants will offset six million litres of diesel and 16 134 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and meet 30% of each town’s energy demand, according to Masdar.

“The solar projects will demonstrate the valuable role played by renewable energy in socio-economic development by positively affecting the lives of citizens, through the provision of clean energy at commercial rates for our country”, Khouna said.