Masdar, a renewable energy company based in the United Arab Emirates, has launched a 15 MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Mauritania.
The project, known as the Sheikh Zayed solar power plant, is located in the capital city of Nouakchott and is the largest solar PV plant in Africa, according to Masdar. The $32 million facility accounts for 10% of Mauritania's energy capacity.
Mauritania's electricity grid, which is powered mostly by expensive diesel generators, currently has an installed capacity of only 144 MW, resulting in severe energy shortages, Masdar notes. With energy demand increasing by 12% annually, the addition of solar power is expected to help meet future electricity shortfalls.
The Sheikh Zayed plant consists of 29,826 micromorph thin-film panels. Project engineers designed the support structure for the PV modules to be piled into the ground instead of using a concrete foundation, which reduced the project's carbon footprint and cost, the company adds.