June 29, 2024

Guinea-Bissau Secures $78.15 Million Grant for Solar Projects

The World Bank, IDA, ESMAP, and GCF are funding Guinea-Bissau’s first solar power plants with a $78.15 million investment to support decarbonization and expand electricity access. The project will build solar plants near Bissau and install mini-grids on the Bijagós islands, providing electricity to 1,200 households and SMEs.

Solar Energy and Access to Electricity Development Project

The World Bank has announced substantial financial support for Guinea-Bissau’s innovative solar power project aimed at reducing carbon emissions and increasing electricity access. This strategic funding aligns with the country's Solar Energy and Access to Electricity Development Project, which will receive ongoing World Bank support until 2030.

The project has secured a $30 million grant from the World Bank, with an additional $35 million from the International Development Association (IDA), another arm of the World Bank. The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) contributed $2.65 million, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) supported it with $10.5 million.

The Guinea-Bissau Solar Energy Scale-up and Access Project is designed to enhance solar energy infrastructure by creating utility-scale solar parks and upgrading current solar grid systems. The project also encompasses capacity building and technical support for the Ministry of Energy and the Electricity and Water Company of Guinea-Bissau (EAGB).

30 MW Solar Power Plant

The Solar Energy Development and Electricity Access Project will see the construction of several solar power plants and battery storage units with private sector involvement. A 30 MW solar power plant will be developed near the capital, Bissau, to reduce electricity costs and diversify the energy mix. Battery storage will initially help stabilize the power supply and later offer additional services to the electricity system, according to the Ministry of the Economy, Planning, and Regional Integration of Guinea-Bissau.

Emphasizing the project's crucial role in advancing inclusive growth through enhanced infrastructure and services, the World Bank Resident Representative in Guinea-Bissau, Anne-Lucie Lefebvre highlighted its significance. Currently, only 33% of Guinea-Bissau’s population has access to electricity, with the capital city of Bissau facing particularly high costs. Tapping into the country's abundant solar resources offers an efficient and cost-effective way to address the energy shortfall.

The Solar Energy Scale-up and Access Project is expected to benefit residential, commercial, and industrial consumers nationwide, including those on the islands. It aligns with the government’s strategy to encourage private sector participation, stimulate economic growth, and create sustainable job opportunities.

Powering 1,200 Households and Others

The government will collaborate with private partners to establish and manage mini-grids on the Bijagós islands, including Bolama, Rubane, and Bubaque. These mini-grids will harness renewable energy, featuring around 500 kW of solar photovoltaic capacity complemented by batteries or diesel generators. This infrastructure will supply electricity to 1,200 households, shops, hotels, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Supported by the International Development Association (IDA), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), the initiative will continue until June 2030. This effort signifies a major advancement in reshaping Guinea-Bissau’s energy sector, leading towards a more sustainable and electrified future.

The $78.15 million investment in Guinea-Bissau's first solar power plants marks a transformative step towards a more sustainable and electrified future. By reducing carbon emissions and expanding electricity access, the project aims to address the country's significant energy challenges and foster economic growth.

With support from the World Bank, IDA, ESMAP, and GCF, the initiative promises to enhance solar energy infrastructure, stabilize power supply, and boost private sector participation. As the project progresses, it will not only benefit thousands of households and businesses but also pave the way for broader socioeconomic development and job creation across the nation.

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