Conergy expands into North Africa with solar plant in Tunisia

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Conergy has expanded its operation into North Africa with its first entry in the Tunisian solar market.

In a statement issued today the company said it had received the green light to install a solar plant in the desert area of Ben Guardane in Medenine, in North Africa.

The plant has a 210kW capacity in a 4,000 square metre site size and it will be used to generate electricity for a groundwater desalination system.

The solar plant is expected to generate enough electricity to cover 70% of the desalination plants energy needs. The project will not receive support from government subsidies or feed-in tariff benefits.

Sonete, the local water supplier and plant operator, will utilise the generated solar electricity to supply potable water to the local population, equal to 1.8 million litres of drinking water daily.

The solar plant will be equipped with 900 Conergy PowerPlus modules on Conergy SolarLinea mounting systems, 15 Conergy IPG T inverters and will generate around 352MWh of electricity annually.

Conergy board member Alexander Gorski said: “The Middle East and North Africa, the so-called MENA states, are predestined for solar power thanks to the prevailing extremely high insolation values.

“According to experts, there is a potential of around 7GW by 2020 and 37GW by 2030 for the entire MENA region. The main drivers of this expected growth are Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In many other countries, however, we are only at the beginning, as is the case in Tunisia. Solar has not played a large role there to date. But the Tunisian government is planning to expand renewable energies in the coming years and is making corresponding investments. Experts are therefore expecting a market potential of around 200 megawatt there by 2020.”

The project will be a non-refundable donation to Tunisia from the Japanese government. Under this term, Conergy will be the sub-contractor of the Takaoka Engineering Co, while the Italian and French Conergy branches will cooperate to provide supplies for this plant.

“The plant in Tunisia is a premiere in the truest sense of the word,” said Giuseppe Sofia, Managing Director of Conergy Italy.

“The first solar installation for a desalination plant that we will be constructing in the country represents our first plant in the most easterly Maghreb state. It will also be the first time that our project teams and engineers from France and Italy will be collaborating on a project.”

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