GreenWish Partners to invest $280 million to build solar plants in Nigeria

21 Mar 2017, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria

Summary

The company said it will build a 100 MW plant in Enugu and two 50 MW plants in Kaduna and Jigawa.

Solar panels

GreenWish Partners, a French investment firm specializing in renewable energy in Sub Saharan Africa, said it plans to invest $280 million to build three solar power plants in Nigeria, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday.

Charlotte Aubin-Kaladjian, GreenWish’s CEO, said the company will build a 100 MW plant in Enugu State and a 50 MW plant each in Kaduna and Jigawa States.

The projects are expected to start producing electricity in the first quarter of next year. 70 percent of the financing will be sourced through debt and 30 percent through equity. On completion, the plants will provide power to 2.5 million people, she said.

“We only take risks where solar makes sense, where it is competitive and where there is political support,” Aubin-Kalaidjian said. “This government is very committed to developing power and renewables, especially in regions where there is no gas available.”

The Federal Government of Nigeria aims to diversify the country’s electricity supply away from gas to other alternative sources, including solar power, in a bid to end chronic electricity shortages in Africa’s largest economy. In July last year, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) signed power purchase agreements with 12 firms for the construction of solar power plants with a total capacity of 975 MW at an estimated cost of $2.5 billion.

GreenWish, just like other solar power companies, will supply its power to the national grid. Aubin-Kalaidjian said transactions with NBET are in naira but denominated in dollars to hedge against the naira-value fluctuations.

“It creates a challenge when the industry has their business linked to the naira,” Aubin-Kalaidjian said. "So it’s important to take that into account and structure properly."

GreenWish’s solar plants in Nigeria are part of the company’s plan to develop 600 MW of renewable energy assets in Sub Saharan Africa by 2020 for about $1 billion. The Paris-based company has on-grid and off-grid projects in Guinea, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast.

Founded in 2010 by Aubin Kalaidjian, GreenWish aims to build a renewable energy investment platform dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa. In June last year, Denham Capital, a US private equity firm, committed about $250 million to fund GreenWish’s projects across Africa.


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