Chinese manufacturer, Hanergy, could build a US$500 million thin-film PV factory in the Ivory Coast, according to the country’s government and a statement released by the company.

The new facility would be part of a wider investment plan that could also see Hanergy developing hydropower in the West African country.

Earlier this week Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of Cote d'Ivoire, met with Hanergy Chairman Li Hejun in the capital Abidjan.

According to the company’s website the President “encouraged Hanergy to invest in Cote d'Ivoire to build thin-film solar projects and hydroelectric projects, explore the new energy market in Cote d'Ivoire with local partners and optimize the local energy supply and energy mix”.

“Hanergy would increase the investment in Africa and bring the most advanced technologies to Africa by building factories of thin-film photovoltaic modules and thin-film solar power plants,” Li is also quoted as saying on the company’s website.

“While powering the regions which haven’t been covered by electricity in Cote d'Ivoire through thin-film photovoltaics…Hanergy would boost local employment, facilitate the industrial transformation and upgrading, and propel Cote d'Ivoire and Africa to realise the rapid economic growth.”

After an end to post-election conflict in 2011 the country’s economy has been outstripping IMF predictions and recorded near double digit growth in successive years. Much of this can be attributed to the mining sector enjoying the new found relative stability.

Mining has proven to be a valuable driver of solar power development in South America where remote sites require large amounts of electricity.

In November 2012 the country’s minister of mines and energy Adama Toungara said the country would increase its electricity capacity by 80%, or 1.1GW, within six years.

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