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Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy firm, Masdar has commissioned a US$31.99 million, 15MW PV power plant in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The project uses 29,826 micromorph (a-Si/μc-Si) thin-film modules from subsidiary Masdar PV. Last year, Masdar PV reported that its micromorph modules had achieved 10% conversion efficiencies.

The project is also significant for being North Africa’s largest PV project to date. Larger plants are currently planned and under construction in South Africa.

The 15MW Sheikh Zayed Solar Power Plant is located in the Mauritanian capital city of Nouakchott and is expected to account for 10% of Mauritania’s energy capacity, displacing approximately 21,225 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Due to Mauritania having one of the lowest GDP rates in Africa, the country is said to have an electricity capacity of only 144MW, mostly diesel engine generated, and suffers from severe energy shortages.

Energy demand in the country has been increasing by 12% annually, according to Masdar, so the the addition of solar power is expected to help meet future electricity shortfalls and supply the energy demand of approximately 10,000 homes.

“Energy access is a pathway to economic and social opportunity,” said Mauritania president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz during the inauguration of the solar plant. “Electrification, through sustainable sources of energy, is critical in ensuring our people have access to basic services and is a step toward improving our infrastructure and long-term economic development. We are pleased to have partnered with Masdar to successfully deliver Africa’s largest solar PV plant and an important facility to meet Mauritania’s growing energy needs.”