Total Eren, AEMP and IAMGOLD Essakane SA were pleased to announce that the grand opening ceremony of Essakane Solar, the world’s largest hybrid solar/thermal plant, was held on March 16th in 2018 in northern Burkina Faso. The new 15 MWp photovoltaic (PV) power plant will supply IAMGOLD Essakane SA with competitive and carbon-free electricity.

Made of close to 130,000 photovoltaic panels, the 15 MWp solar power plant (Essakane Solar) will be added to the existing 57 MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) power plant, creating the largest hybrid PV-HFO plant in the world and one of the largest solar facilities in sub-saharan Africa.

The construction of the solar plant, managed by Wärtsilä, commenced 10 months ago. Approximately 75 people from nearby communities were hired for the construction works and Essakane Solar will now employ 40 permanent staff for the next 15 years.

The IAMGOLD Essakane SA gold mine is one of the largest privately-held companies in the country, producing 389,000 oz of gold attributable to IAMGOLD in 2017. 

Due to its isolated location, the mine is currently off-grid and relies solely on HFO.

In this context, IAMGOLD Essakane SA put forward a progressive sustainability agenda and moved forward with the project sponsor, Total Eren, a global renewable energy independent power producer (IPP), and AEMP, a developer and independent power producer, to add solar capacity to its existing power system. 

 

The 15 MWp solar project will help decrease the mine’s fuel consumption by approximately 6 million litres per year and reduce its annual CO2 emissions by nearly 18,500 t. 

According to im-mining.com