New big solar project to light up Madagascar

Dec 20, 2019 04:52 PM ET
  • Groupe Filatex teams up with Canada’s DERA Energy.
New big solar project to light up Madagascar
Image: Bloomberg

Groupe Filatex, Madagascar’s largest employer, is completing solar power plants in four cities on the island to boost access to electricity in the nation of 26 million people.

The plants will have a combined capacity of 50 megawatts and the project is a joint venture with Canada’s DERA Energy, Filatex said in a statement. The company, which employs 15,000 people mostly in the real estate and hospitality sectors, plans to install another 50 megawatts next year. The solar panels will be supplied by Canadian Solar Inc.

With an average of almost 2,800 hours of sunlight a year, Madagascar is well placed to benefit from solar energy. Only 15% of the population have access to electricity and total generation capacity is about 500 megawatts. The plants to be switched on this year are in Antsiranana, Mahajanga, Toamasina and Toliara and will supply power to a million people, Filatex said.

The nation, which relies on exports of vanilla and nickel for foreign income, is ranked 186 out of 190 countries in terms of access to power, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report.

“Improving access to power is vital to delivering economic growth,” Filatex Chief Executive Officer Hasnaine Yavarhoussen said.

DERA, or Developpment Energie Renouvelable Afrique, is also developing 130 megawatts of solar power in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has an 8 megawatt hydro-power facility in Albania and is evaluating sites for further hydro-power projects in Togo and Guinea.

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