Meridiam secures €43m financing for Senegal solar park

The French firm has financed its second solar project in Senegal via its Africa fund with debt financing from Proparco and BIO.

Paris-based asset manager Meridiam has closed a €43 million financing for a 30MW solar project in Senegal.

The investment represents the firm’s second solar investment in Senegal after it earlier this year funded another 30MW plant northwest of the capital city of Dakar for the same amount. The new project, scheduled to be operational early next year, is located to the east of Dakar.

Proparco, the private investment arm of France’s development agency and a backer of the first project, has returned to provide debt financing to the Ten Merina plant. It has teamed up with BIO, a Belgian state-owned development finance institution, to provide an 18-year loan of €34.5 million towards the project. Meridiam said the price of the plant was more competitive compared to Senegal’s thermal power plants.

Also returning to the west African country after participating in Meridiam’s previous project is developer Solairedirect, a subsidiary of French energy giant Engie. The firm will develop Ten Marina alongside compatriot Eiffage.

Meridiam financed the solar park via its Meridiam Infrastructure Africa Fund, launched in September 2014. It held a €150 million first close last year with a target of €300 million, according to the European Investment Bank. As of press time, Meridiam would not confirm whether it has now completed the fundraising.

Meridiam said the completion of the financing “confirms its ambition to become a key actor in the sector.” Despite Senegal having a relatively small solar capacity, momentum seems to be building in the sector with the Denham Capital-sponsored Greenwish also developing a 20MW plant in the country, while the International Finance Corporation hopes to procure 200MW in Senegal via its Scaling Solar programme.