The Liberian government and project developer, Gigawatt Global Cooperatief U.A., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the financing and construction of a 10 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Monrovia.
According to a dispatch from New York, Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara signed on behalf of the Liberian government, while the New Projects Coordinator, Mr. Remy Reinstein, signed on behalf of Gigawatt. The signing took place at the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations in New York last Friday.
In her remarks, Foreign Minister Kamara said the Liberian government is excited to be entering into this venture.
She indicated that energy is one of government’s top priorities and conveyed the government’s desire to bring electricity to as many areas including the rural communities of the country before the end of this administration.
Minister Kamara expressed satisfaction that the company has an element of corporate social responsibility attached to the project. “It’s almost a must now that when you enter these kinds of contracts the company or enterprise does something for the community in which it operates. I’m very pleased that your business philosophy enables you to address other needs in your operational areas,” she said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister stressed that the signing of the MoU was also a groundbreaking event as Liberia is on the trajectory of strengthening relations with the State of Israel.
Mr. Reinstein indicated that besides the 10 megawatts to be built in Monrovia initially, his company would like to install 30 additional megawatts in other parts of the country where government deems fit. He assured that his company will abide by its corporate social responsibility.
The MoU, in part, states that Gigawatt will provide the government, through the Liberia Electricity Company (LEC), the roadmap, which summarizes the main actions and steps necessary for the development and construction of a solar photovoltaic power plant. It will also conduct at its own expense a technical and financial feasibility, including the analysis of financial cash flows and tariff structures and the average rate over the entire observation period of debt repayment and return on equity; provide all reports to the LEC within a period of eight months from the signing of this MoU; as well as provide 100 percent financing, both debt and equity as allowed under Liberian law.
The Liberian government, for its part, is to analyze reports and studies submitted by the developer for approval for the development and construction of the solar power plant within 30 days of developer’s submission. GOL will also provide data upon request of the developer on the national electric grid, utility technical or financial information as requested in favor of the feasibility studies.
Government will assist in securing optimal land sites for the power facility; consider the project as part of the National Electrification Plan; and assist in facilitating an introduction between the project developer and the leading universities in closest proximity of the project site. The objective is to develop a corporate social responsibility program, knowledge transfer and training for rural solar electrification.
Gigawatt Global Cooperatief U.A. is a multinational – American, Dutch and Israeli – renewable energy company focused on the development and management of utility-scale solar fields in emerging markets. The company has a rich pipeline of solar electricity projects, mostly in Africa.
It delivered the first utility-scale solar electricity interconnection under the White House Power Africa program in Rwanda supplying six percent of its electricity needs. Quite recently, the company signed a 135 megawatt project in northern Nigeria, which will be the largest solar field in Africa. They opened their first field in Georgia, USA, in June 2016.
Gigawatt was also honored by the US State Department as a finalist for the Secretary of State’s ACE awards in Corporate Excellence a nd Sustainability.