His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the Masdar-built Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s capital city, Nouakchott, while on a state visit to the country on 21 October 2015. He was accompanied by Mauritanian Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Mining Mohammed Salem Ould Al Bashirand His Excellency Eisa Abdullah Al Kalbani, UAE Ambassador to Mauritania.
The Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant is the largest solar power installation in West Africa and is the first such utility-scale installation in the country. The facility, which came online in April 2013, accounts for 10 percent of the capital city’s grid capacity. It produces 15 megawatts of clean electricity annually and displaces about 21,225 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Manufactured by Masdar PV, the plant’s nearly 30,000 solar panels supply electricity to more than 10,000 homes in Nouakchott.
The plant has produced more energy than estimated, accounting for an annual increase in demand and resulting in additional savings. Producing more than 60 gigawatt-hours since it began operating, the facility has reduced generator load during peak sun hours, resulting in reduced power-failure rates.
This project delivers significant economic, social and environmental benefits to the people of Mauritania. It reduces their dependency on imported diesel, freeing up vital financial resources for other developmental projects. It also showcases the viability of sustainable development models as a solution to ensuring access to affordable, reliable energy.