Angola's estimated solar potential:16.3 GW
Installed solar capacity targeted for 2025: 800 MW
Solar gains momentum in AngolaOctober 12, 2022
Angola is currently developing several solar power projects that tie in to the country’s Angola Energy programme and its environmental commitments. Among current developments is a mega-project consisting of seven photovoltaic plants that will be commissioned by Q2 2023 and additional projects funded by the Angolan and US governments.
Angola has significant solar potential; it is estimated that the country has 16.3 GW of solar power resources. The Ministry of Energy and Water has identified sites and is actively moving towards commissioning new facilities. These plants are a part of the Angola Energy programme, which seeks to install 800 MW of renewable capacity from solar projects by 2025.
These initiatives are backed by President João Lourenço, who at COP26 in November 2021 stated that Angola aims to source 70% of its energy from renewables by 2025. The solar projects include those connected to the grid and smaller off-grid developments to electrify isolated communities in Angola.
The country’s flagship 370-MW project is composed of seven photovoltaic plants developed in six different provinces consisting of 1 million solar panels. These plants will supply power to provinces where electricity shortages and access to the public network are still daily issues. An international consortium led by Portuguese construction company MCA Group is tasked with completing the project. The project began in March 2021 and is expected to take two and a half years to complete.
The two largest developments are the 188-MW Biópio and 96.7-MW Baía Farta facilities, which began construction in March 2021. The two plants are located in the province of Benguela and will supply energy to up to 1.5 billion residents through the national electricity grid. The Biópio and Baía Farta projects were inaugurated by the president in July 2022. Both consist of around 770,000 solar panels and represent an investment of more than USD 307 million.
INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT: International players are showing increased interest in the country’s solar potential, with many projects expected to be operational in two years. For example, the Caraculo solar power plant, run through a partnership consisting of Italian super-major Eni and Sonangol, is expected to become operational in 2022. In its first phase, the Caraculo facility will deliver 25 MW, and then double its capacity to 50 MW.
Additionally, the Quilemba power plant is expected to begin construction in 2022, with aims to begin commercial operations by 2024. The plant will have the capacity to produce 35 MW. The asset is owned, run and financed by French energy giant TotalEnergies in partnership with Sonangol and local renewables company Greentech – Angola Environment Technology.
In May 2022, President Lourenço approved a contract worth USD 1.02 billion for the development of new solar projects with the aim of electrifying 60 communes. Consecutively, US President Joe Biden announced the launch of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment in June 2022, which will see USD 200 billion put towards global infrastructure funded by the US Export Credit Agency. Among its initiatives is a partnership between the Angolan government and American project development companies Africa Global Schaffer and Sun Africa. Under the agreement, Sun Africa will develop 728 MW of solar mini-grids to provide electricity to more than 2 million people in southern Angola. The investment represents the largest mini-grid energy project in Africa.