The US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has put out a tender request for a 25MW hybrid solar-diesel-storage project in Sierra Leone. 

The facility will be developed by local independent power producer (IPP) Solar Era Holdings, a subsidiary of global EPC Africa Growth Energy Solutions.

The project is set to be delivered in two phases; phase 1 is a 5MW grid-connected facility in Bo, the country’s second largest city. Phase 2 is the larger 20MW hybrid facility that is expected to be a solar-diesel-battery plant. The combination of the three technologies is ideal for Sierra Leone; with much of the population in rural communities that lack access to the national grid. Pairing solar with diesel allows the latter to offset solar’s fluctuating energy source for harmonised delivery of power. The storage component also serves to stabilise the grid via frequency regulation and ramp-rate control.

The tender pertains to finding an EPC for phase 1 of the project. USTDA is currently supporting the development of phase 1 and the launch of phase 2 with a grant which will fund a feasibility study – currently being carried out by Power Engineers Incorporated – to assess the technical, financial and economic viability of the project.

This project represents an opportunity for US engineering and design companies to partner with a Sierra Leonean firm as the country seeks to increase its energy generation capacity as well as diversify its energy mix.

The deadline for submissions is 16 June 2017. 

Back in April, the USTDA provided grants for one of Sub Saharan Africa’s first utility solar-plus-storage projects, located in Kenya. 

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