Sierra Leone-based independent power producer Solar Era Holdings, a unit of Africa Growth Energy Solutions is developing a 25 MW PV portfolio in Bo, Sierra Leone.

The project will be delivered in two phases; Phase 1 is a 5 MW grid-connected PV facility, and Phase 2 is a 20 MW facility.

Initial funding and arrangements for the project started in 2015, with Solar Era Holdings leasing a 30 acres of land along the Bo-Kenema highway, where the $9 Million plant is being built.

In May 2015, the country’s Parliament ratified the PPA between the government of Sierra Leone and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) and Solar Era Holdings relating to the 5 MW solar project estimated at $12 million.

The $12.6 million project is being financed by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) with $9 million, and the Sierra Leone government with €3.6 million.

US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) is supporting the development of Phase 1 and the launch of Phase 2 with a grant funding the feasibility study.

The US agency agreed to finance the feasibility study for the project in September 2016.

According to the USTDA, the project’s hybrid option will address problems with intermittency and stability, bringing new power online to better manage electricity demand.

“The new plants”, said USTDA at the time, “will support more dependable power generation and improve energy access in the country, where only 13 percent of the population currently has access.”

Solar Era’s project is the second large-scale PV project under development in the African country, and could provide power to approximately 100,000 homes and businesses.