Sierra Leone: In a groundbreaking move to enhance Sierra Leone’s renewable energy landscape, Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) including British International Investment (BII), FMO, and Proparco, have jointly invested over $52 million in the Planet Solar project. Developed by Frontier Energy and Planet One, this greenfield initiative aims to establish a 50MW solar power project in Sierra Leone, responding to the critical need for clean, affordable, and stable power in the region.
Sierra Leone possesses abundant renewable energy potential, particularly in hydropower, wind, and solar resources. However, despite this potential, a significant portion, up to 80%, of the country’s electricity is currently generated from fossil fuels. The Planet Solar project marks a significant step towards diversifying the energy mix, with the 50MW solar capacity expected to help mitigate 53,000 tonnes of annual CO2 emissions.
Only 23% of Sierra Leone’s population has access to electricity. The Planet Solar project aims to address this gap by increasing the operational domestic electricity supply by approximately 30%. The power generated will be directed towards commercial and industrial entities, public institutions, and households connected to the main energy grid. This initiative is anticipated to facilitate increased power flow to industries and communities, benefitting Freetown, Sierra Leone’s commercial capital, the Western Area, and beyond, covering four sites across the country.
Chris Chijiutomi, Managing Director and Head of Africa at BII, expressed enthusiasm about the project’s transformative potential, emphasizing its commitment to climate finance and the broader goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Jaap Reinking, Head of the Private Equity department at FMO, highlighted the importance of energy access in driving inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economic recovery and growth.
Proparco’s Deputy Head of Private Equity Africa & Middle East division, Tibor Asboth, emphasized the alignment of the investment with their climate change mitigation strategy in Africa, noting that Planet Solar’s projects are expected to increase Sierra Leone’s installed electricity capacity by 30%, supporting the development of electrical infrastructure.
Lars Tejlgaard Jensen, Investment Director and Partner at Frontier Energy praised the project’s successful development and delivery despite challenging conditions. He highlighted the diverse benefits the project would bring to urban and rural consumers, as well as commercial and industrial entities, fostering robust economic growth across multiple regions.
Sierra Leone, identified as a priority country in the Africa Resilience Investment Accelerator initiative co-led by BII and FMO, is set to benefit from increased investment opportunities and mobilization of commercial capital in frontier markets in Africa.
This commitment by DFIs aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly in contributing to Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), and Climate Action (SDG 13). The investment is expected to play a crucial role in advancing Sierra Leone’s energy sector and supporting a more sustainable future for the nation.