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Masdar opens new solar plant in Mauritania

Nouakchott (Mauritania), April 21, 2013

Abu Dhabi-based green energy firm Masdar has announced the opening of a 15-megawatt solar power project in Mauritanian capital Nouakchott that aims to deliver about 10 per cent of the country's power capacity.

Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant, built at a cost of Dh117.5 million ($31.99 million), is the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in Africa and will help displace approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually, said a statement from the government-owned Masdar.

Speaking at the launch, Sheikh Saeed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s Ruler Representative, said the opening of the plant reaffirms the UAE’s long-standing support for economic and social growth projects in developing countries.

“This inauguration underscores the important role renewable energy can play to drive comprehensive sustainable development in Africa. The project was aligned with the vision of  the UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” he stated.

“The UAE’s policy of aiding developing countries was first established by the late founding father Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Today, we continue to carry out his vision and legacy, and this solar power plant is a testament to our strong bi-lateral relationship with Mauritania and our commitment to helping create a more sustainable future,” noted Sheikh Saeed.

Mauritania’s electricity grid, which is powered mostly by expensive diesel generators, currently has an installed capacity of only144 megawatts, resulting in severe energy shortages.

With energy demand increasing by 12 per cent annually, the addition of solar power will help meet future electricity shortfalls and supply the energy demand of approximately10,000 homes.

The plant, which consists of 29,826 micromorph thin-film panels, was built using innovative and sustainable construction practices, said the statement from Masdar.

In particular, 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, it added.

Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said energy access is a pathway to economic and social opportunity.

"Electrification, through sustainable sources of energy, is critical in ensuring our people have access to basic services and is a step toward improving our infrastructure and long-term economic development. We are pleased to have partnered with Masdar to successfully deliver Africa’s largest solar PV plant and an important facility to meet Mauritania’s growing energy needs," he added.

Lauding Masdar for its commitment, Abdel Aziz said, "This new solar power plant not only provides much needed grid capacity for our people, it also proves that renewable energy can play amajor role in the development of our country."

Masdar CEO Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber pointyed out that for more than 40 years, the UAE had remained steadfast in its commitment to helping developing countries achieve their economic potential.

"Today, as the UAE and Masdar help countries realize their ambitions of developing criticalenergy infrastructure, we are finding important new ways to assist the global community in achieving sustainable development," he stated.

“Through this project, and others like it, Masdar is committed to improving energy access anddemonstrating that renewable energy can serve as a foundation for economic development and social opportunity,” he added.

According to him, Masdar is also developing numerous other renewable energy projects to improve, energy access in the developing world.

These include a 6-megawatt wind farm in Seychelles, a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic power plant on the island of Vava’u in the Kingdom of Tonga and a project to supply 600 residences with off-grid solar PV systems in Afghanistan.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: abu dhabi | Masdar | project | Mauritania | solar power |

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