Proparco backs Meridiam’s solar farm in Senegal

The 30MW project, the first to be sponsored by Meridiam’s Africa fund, has secured a €34.5m loan from the French institution.

West Africa’s largest solar facility, backed by French fund manager Meridiam Infrastructure, has received a boost after securing €34.5 million from Proparco, the private investment arm of France’s development agency.

The plant, whose cost is estimated at XOF28 billion ($48 million; €43 million), is located northwest of Dakar, the Senegalese capital. It will add 30MW into the country’s grid once completed, with the power sold under a 25-year purchase agreement.

The project is the first to be backed by Meridiam's Africa Fund, for which the firm has now raised €300 million. It is understood that the vehicle has not yet been closed.

Meridiam did not respond to a request for comment on its Africa fund in time for publication.

The plant, which is expected to be commissioned in December 2016, is being built by local developer Senergy alongside France’s Solairedirect and Schneider Electric. The Senegalese Sovereign Fund is also a shareholder in the project.

The solar farm will supply electricity to power the annual consumption of 226,500 inhabitants at a more competitive price than the country’s thermal plants, Hogan Lovells, which acted as a legal advisor to Proparco, said in a statement.

Last month, Meridiam reached a €1.3 billion final close on its flagship Europe Fund III, which has a 25-year duration and invests in early-stage development projects.