First green energy project in Burkina Faso for Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund

PUBLISHED: Mon, 15 Mar 2021 08:00:13 GMT
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The West African country of Burkina Faso is to get a new large-scale renewable energy plant, it was announced today, 15th March. Located some 250km south east of the nation’s capital city of Ouagadougou, near the town of Pâ, the new solar energy plant will supply all the electricity it produces to Burkina Faso’s national power utility, La Société National D’électricité Du Burkina Faso (SONABEL).

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a member of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is lending the project’s developer, Urbasolar SAS, 80% of the capital needed for the construction of the new 30MW facility. EAIF is the sole lender to the project, providing €29 million of the estimated €35.4 million development cost. Financial close (the transfer of funds from lender to borrower) is expected by the second quarter of the year.  

Paromita Chatterjee, an Investment Director at EAIF’s managers, Ninety One, says;

“Harnessing Burkina Faso’s sunshine to improve its future prospects will bring many benefits to the country and make an important contribution to fighting global warming. This project is a perfect example of how EAIF’s public private partnership model can have lasting economic, social and environmental impacts while mobilising private capital and enterprise to create new infrastructure.”

EAIF has now supported 20 renewable energy projects across Africa. It has invested US$350 million of loans to private sector developers, bringing Africa 825MW of clean, renewable energy.

Commenting on the  project, Arnaud Mine, president of Urbasolar and Emmanuel Kaboré, Urbasolar Regional Head – West Africa, said;

“As a European expert in solar power, the Urbasolar group is conscious of its role in developing this energy source in Africa, notably in Burkina Faso, where we already operate. It is Urbasolar's conviction that the solar power sector offers solutions to numerous economic, environmental and social issues. Therefore, in addition to providing green energy, this project also includes a number of other measures such as education regarding solar technology, the provision of study grants and a microfinancing program for local women, as well as support for the healthcare system.

“This project is the result of the willingness of the Burkinabé president, Rock Marc Christian KABORE, and the government to increase the country’s energy supply by promoting private investment through public-private partnership. We are pleased to be able to work alongside the government and the national energy utility, SONABEL, to reach the goal of generating 200 MW of energy via solar power plants by 2021, the strategy established by Dr Bachir Ismael OUEDRAOGO, Minister of Energy, Mines and Quarries.

“EAIF's experience in the renewable energy sector in Africa is a considerable asset for developers like Urbasolar. We are pleased to share our own values of Sustainable Development and to collaborate with EAIF on this project, which demonstrates our shared goal of long-term infrastructure development in rapidly developing regions.”

Burkina Faso has a population of nearly 20 million people. Over 40% of people live below the poverty line. The country has one of the world’s lowest rates of electrification. Because of a shortage of installed energy generation capacity, Burkina Faso needs to import electricity from neigbouring states. Urbanisation, structural changes to the economy and recent strong GDP growth have increased demand for energy. Currently relying mainly on fossil fueled power stations, the country has embarked on a programme of attracting private capital and expertise to build renewable energy capacity. The Urbasolar project is one of the first of the new green energy plants. Around 280MW is expected to be commissioned over the next three years.

Urbasolar was selected as the developer following a competitive tender process run by SONABEL. Urbasolar will build and operate the plant and construction is forecast to be completed within 18 months.

Established in France in 2006, Urbasolar has installed over 650 PV plants and currently operates solar plants of over 900MW. Urbasolar is provding 20% of the project’s capital. It is the majority shareholder in the Pâ facility. A minority stake is held by Project Production Solaire (PPS). Founded as a specialist renewable energy and energy efficiency business in 2010 by a group of Burkinabé engineers, PPS operates in Burkina Faso as well as Togo, Ivory Coast and Benin.  

In July 2019, Urbasolar was acquired by AXPO, a Swiss utility and Switzerland’s largest producer of renewable energy.

Technical information

Ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant with a total peak power of 29,967.84 KWp. The PV modules are installed on fixed structures with an inclination of 15° and oriented South. The Project includes string inverters and monocrystalline modules. The plant will be connected to the grid via a 2km cable to a nearby sub-station.

Advisers to the lender

International Legal Counsel

:

Clifford Chance Europe LLP

Local Legal Counsel

:

SCP Yanogo Bobson

Lenders Technical Advisor “LTA”

:

3E Renewable Energy Services (Pty) Ltd

Lenders advisor for construction monitoring

:

3E Renewable Energy Services (Pty) Ltd

Lenders Insurance Advisor

:

INDECS Consulting Ltd

E&S Advisor

:

Antea Group, France

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG).

Media Contact:
EAIF Martin Roche
martinroche55@gmail.com
+44 (0)771 574 9621

PIDG Cecilie Sorhus
Cecilie.Sorhus@pidg
+44 (0)7917 302724

Kotie Basson
Ninety One Kotie Basson
kotie.basson@ninetyone.com
T: +27 21 901 1812

About EAIF:
The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (www.EAIF.com) provides a variety of debt products to infrastructure projects promoted mainly by private sector businesses in Africa and parts of the Levant. The Fund helps create the infrastructure framework that is essential to sustained economic stability, business confidence, job creation and poverty reduction. It has to date supported 75 completed  infrastructure projects across nine sectors in over 20 African countries. As of the end of 2018 the Fund had invested US$20.082 billion. EAIF is part of PIDG. EAIF was established and substantially funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden. It raises its debt capital from public and private sources, including Allianz, the global insurance and financial services company; Standard Chartered Bank; the African Development Bank; the German development finance institution, KFW,and FMO, the Dutch development bank. EAIF is managed by Ninety One.

About PIDG:
The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) (www.PIDG.org) is an innovative infrastructure project developer and investor which mobilises private investment in sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia. PIDG investments promote socio-economic development within a just transition to net zero emissions, combat poverty and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.  PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 157 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 209 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC. PIDG TA can provide technical assistance and capital grants to the PIDG companies to meet a range of needs associated with an infrastructure project’s life-cycle. PIDG TA can also provide up-front viability gap funding grants to support PIDG projects that require concessional funding to make a project with strong development impact financeable. 

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About Ninety One:
Ninety One (www.NinetyOne.com) is one of the largest third party investors in private equity, credit, public equity and sovereign debt across the African continent. The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) is managed by and fully integrated into Ninety One’s African investment platform. Ninety One manages the entire process on behalf of the EAIF. It markets the Fund, seeks projects, evaluates loan applications, including due diligence, manages transaction administration and monitors the loan portfolio. Since May 2016, when it was awarded the management mandate, Ninety One and its EAIF team have closed over 20 infrastructure transactions with a capital value of USD 650m. The team also led EAIF’s last round of fundraising, raising US$385 million, including US$100 million from Allianz Global Investors and US$50 million from Standard Chartered, a long-standing lender to EAIF.

Ninety One is  an independent, active global asset manager listed on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges. Established in South Africa in 1991, as Investec Asset Management, the firm was a pioneer in emerging markets in Africa. In 2020, almost three decades of organic growth later, the firm de-merged from Investec Group and became Ninety One. Today, Ninety One offers distinctive, active strategies across equities, fixed income, multi-asset and alternative investments to institutions, advisors and individual investors around the world.