6 November 2012 – UAE based Masdar is to build a 15 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania. The project will be the first utility-scale PV plant in the country.

As the existing grid-connected electricity generation capacity of the country is only 144 MW, the plant will increase this capacity by 10%. The Nouakchott PV plant will help to serve growing electricity demand, estimated at 12% annually, as well as to help mitigate energy shortages.

It will be owned by the state utility, Société Mauritanienne d’Electricité (Somelec) and is to be built next to the university in Nouakchott, which is currently under construction, and will also serve as a learning laboratory.

Mauritania has a low electrification rate of 60% and suffers severe energy shortages.Most of the country’s existing installed grid capacity of 144 MW is supplied by diesel generators.