Savannah Energy Niger Solar Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based energy company Savannah, announced on Thursday that it has signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the government of Niger to develop two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants with a combined installed power generation capacity of up to 200 megawatts (MW).

The two proposed solar plants are expected to be located within 20 km of the cities of Maradi and Zinder, respectively, in southern Niger with each plant expected to have an installed capacity of between 50 and 100 MW, Savannah said in a press statement.

The project feasibility studies are expected to be completed over the course of the next 12 months, the statement said.

The two projects are expected to receive sanctions in 2024, with first power targeted in the 2025 to 2026 window, the statement added.

Savannah expects to fund the two projects from a combination of its own internally generated cashflows and project specific debt.

Ibrahim Yacoubou, Minister of State for Energy and Renewable Energies for Niger said: “These projects come in addition to the up to 250 MW Parc Eolien de la Tarka, the wind farm project signed with Savannah last year, which has strong momentum and is expected to start construction in 2024.”

In March 2022, Savannah had signed an agreement with the Ministry for the construction and operation of the wind farm on independent power producer (IPP) basis in the Tahoua Region of Southern Niger.

Andrew Knott, CEO Savannah Energy said: “These are exactly the sort of high developmental impact projects our renewable energy division is seeking to deliver, with the potential to increase on-grid electricity supply in country by over 20 percent.”

Catherine Inglehearn, British Ambassador to Niger, said: “Foreign investment such as this is crucial for Niger’s continued social and economic development and we welcome Savannah’s support. Following the investor roundtable with President Bazoum in London on 5 May 2023, this is evidence of the United Kingdom’s strong continued commitment to Niger.”

The statement said the solar projects are expected to be connected to the South Central section of Niger’s electricity grid, which is forecast to be interconnected to the Western electricity grid zone (which serves Niamey) by 2026, as part of a World Bank funded project.

The AIM-quoted Savannah Energy is active in Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)