September 22, 2016
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has awarded a US$856,000 grant to Solar Era Holdings (SL) Limited to support the development of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and a PV-thermal hybrid project near Bo, says a release from the United States Embassy in Freetown yesterday, adding that the new plants will support more dependable power generation and improve energy access in Sierra Leone.
“The United States is proud to help bring new sources of renewable energy to Sierra Leone,” U.S. Ambassador John Hoover is quoted to have remarked at the signing ceremony. “This project supports President Koroma’s Recovery Priorities and helps to lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth for all Sierra Leoneans.”
The release says Albert Smith, Solar Era’s Director of International Business Development, signed the grant agreement along with Ambassador Hoover. Mr. Smith is quoted to have explained that, “by delivering power in Baoma Chiefdom to the Bo-Kenema transmission line, this project will play a key role in the economic development of the region.”
Minister of Energy Henry Macauley joined Ambassador Hoover and Mr. Smith at the signing ceremony, and expressed his support for the project.
According to the release, Solar Era has selected Power Engineers Incorporated, an American company specialising in power generation and transmission, to conduct the feasibility study. Power Engineers will provide the information and analysis necessary to support Solar Era’s efforts to implement the project on a commercially viable and sustainable basis.
The project is said to support the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. Government-led initiative launched by President Obama to increase electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa. In Sierra Leone and throughout the continent, Power Africa is adding more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections.