The provincial government of Tshopo, in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo, has signed an agreement with Cat Projects Africa for the development and construction of a 40 MW solar park near the provinceâ€™s capital, Kisangani.
The $50 million, 65.5-hectare project, the local authority said, will feature around 155,000 solar modules, 36 transformers and 72 inverters. The plant will generate power for utility SociÃ©tÃ© nationale dâ€™Ã©lectricitÃ©. No further technical or financial details were disclosed.
The project is intended to boost power supply in an area dependentÂ on a recently rehabilitated 12 MW hydroelectric plant at the Tshopo River Falls.
At present, the huge African nation has only off-grid solar systems, including those which power UN missions in the state. However Chinese thin-film manufacturer Hanergy this year announced a plan to deploy 400 MW of solar generation capacity in the provinces of Katanga, Lualaba, KasaÃ¯-Oriental, KasaÃ¯-Central, Kivu and Sankuru. Hanergy said it wanted to help DR Congo achieve a target of 65% electrification by 2025 and universal electric access by 2030.
The troubled African country has a population of around 85 million and an electrification access rate of around 9%, a figure which in rural areas falls close to 1%. DR Congo has power generation capacity of around 2.67 GW, of which 2.54 GW is hydropower and 135 MW thermal power.