First photovoltaic solar power plant in Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast inaugurates its first photovoltaic solar energy plant in Boundiali, which symbolizes an important step in the diversification of its energy mix.
Ivory Coast has taken a crucial step in its energy transition with the opening of its first photovoltaic solar power plant in Boundiali. This project, emblematic of the future of renewable energies in the country, aims to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote a more sustainable energy mix.
Located in the north of Côte d’Ivoire, the Boundiali solar power plant enjoys a warm and dry climate, ideal for solar energy. Franck Alain Yayo, plant operations engineer, points out that the irradiance in this region is very high, which optimizes electricity production. Inaugurated in June 2023, the plant consists of 68,000 solar panels on 36 hectares, with the aim of doubling this figure by the end of 2024 to reach a capacity of 80 MWp. The project, with a total cost of 75.6 million euros, is financed by Côte d’Ivoire, a German loan and a grant from the European Union.
Perspectives and challenges

The IEA (International Energy Agency) points out that one in two people in sub-Saharan Africa does not have access to electricity, despite abundant solar irradiation. Although the continent has doubled its clean energy production capacity in ten years, it represents only 2% of global capacity. The Boundiali power plant, which contributes 1% of national production, symbolizes a promising but modest beginning. Ivory Coast’s energy mix is ??currently dominated by gas-fired power plants (70%) and hydroelectric plants (30%).
Future commitments and challenges

Côte d’Ivoire has committed to increasing its share of renewable energy to 45% by 2030, including 9% solar energy, and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. However, the recent discovery of two oil and gas fields, including the Calao field, underlines the continued importance of fossil fuels to the country’s energy security. The Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Energy, Sangafowa Coulibaly, believes that these resources will meet the country’s growing energy needs.

Local and social impact

The development of the Boundiali solar power plant also brings important social benefits. About 350 people have been hired since the project began, providing stable employment in a region where work is scarce. Oumar Konaté, a former farmer, enjoys his new position and the opportunities the project offers. CI-Energies, in collaboration with the French group Eiffage, is training local employees to maintain and operate the plant. Efforts to improve local skills and provide sustainable employment are essential to the long-term success of Côte d’Ivoire’s energy transition. This pilot project could serve as a model for other similar initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa.
Ivory Coast’s first solar power plant represents a significant step towards a greener and more resilient energy future. By reconciling economic development and environmental protection, the country is showing the way to a successful energy transition.