Solar Energy in Burkina Faso:
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries with the lowest electrification globally as it is currently at 19 percent. This implies that only 60 percent of urban centers, as well as 3 percent of the rural population, enjoy access to electricity. There is also an extreme lack of access to non-solid fuels which reaches up to 8 percent nationally.
Demand for use of Solar Energy in Burkina Faso Increases
Burkina Faso is presently facing a rapid increase in demand for domestic energy, including transport, urban, and industry local needs. Coverage of these energy requirements is usually met by traditional butane gas and biomass for internal use.
Solar Energy in Burkina Faso in Heavy Use
But solar energy in Burkina Faso is now looking up as it has become the home to the biggest solar power plant in West Africa. The primary objective for this scheme is to boost up renewables while significantly cutting the dependence of energy on its neighbors. Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana export electricity to the inland country in order to meet its domestic needs.
The 135-acre (55-hectare) solar power plant located at Zagtouli which is on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital is expected to churn out nothing less than 33 megawatts. This is more than enough to power tens of thousands of homes in the country.
The power plant has undergone a test phase in which it efficiently produced up to 14 megawatts and will reach a peak of 33 megawatts during December, that is if there is sufficient sunshine. In terms of installed capacity, this is the largest solar power-generating plant in West Africa.
Solar energy in Burkina Faso looks to be on the up and up as the plant’s 260-watt solar panels – which are up to 129,600 in number – is expected to pump out nothing less than 56 MW. This is equivalent to 5 percent of current production into the network of national power firm.
Why Solar Energy in Burkina Faso?
The use of solar energy in Burkina Faso will help in reducing power shortages which significantly hamper the development or progression of the economy.
The world’s biggest solar plant is located in Kamuthi, in India’s Tamil Nadu state and produces up to 648 megawatts. The largest floating solar-powered generator throughout the world is the 40-megawatt solar plant situated on a lake that is over a collapsed coal mine in Huainan, China.
In spite of these comparisons, Burkina Faso has great ambitions as the African country hopes to meet a minimum of 30 percent of its electricity needs via photovoltaic solar panels by 2030. And maybe one day, the country will become one of the African nations with self-sufficient electricity production.
Future Plans for the Extensive Use of Solar Energy in Burkina Faso
Presently, plans are underway for a 17-megawatt extension at the Zagouli site, and if it is completed, it will take overall power production capacity up to 50 megawatts.
Other schemes designed to take great advantage of solar energy in Burkina Faso, are still in the pipeline, and they include two solar plants. One solar plant – which is expected to produce up to 20 MW will be situated further west at Koudougou while the other one – which will provide 10 megawatts will be located at Kaya. Kaya is at the northeast of the capital.