Abu Dhabi’s state renewable energy company Masdar on 18 April launched a 15mw capacity solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at Nouakchott, Mauritania. At an inauguration ceremony Mauritanian President Muhammad Ould ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said that the plant had been built in less than four months in cooperation with the country’s state electricity firm Somelec. Mauritanian news agency AMI said the plant would provide 7-10% of the power required in Nouakchott City, which was equivalent to the needs of 5,000-10,000 homes. Masdar said the plant is the largest solar PV installation in Africa, and was built at a cost of Dh117.5mn ($32mn).

Prior to start-up of the PV plant, Mauritania’s installed power generating capacity amounted to 144mw. One-third of Mauritania’s electricity comes from hydropower schemes, but the bulk of its supply comes from diesel-fired plants. The country’s electrification rate is only 60%. Electricity demand is growing at 12% a year and the country suffers severe energy shortages. (CONTINUED - 301 WORDS)