Following the escalation of fuel prices, the Senegalese government has sought to invest in solar energy production.
According to the UN, and the national electricity company, Senelec, only one in four Senegalese have access to mains electricity so investing in solar energy could bring electricity to millions of Senegalese, extensively trim down electricity bills in the long term, and draw millions of dollars in development funding under the UN-brokered Clean Development Mechanism, if investors step in.
A statement from the United Nations Environment programme (UNEP) research says that, by tapping into just a small section of the solar energy resources of the Sahara desert, you could theoretically produce enough energy to fuel the entire planet. ‘Senegal, like many of its Sahelian neighbours, gets 3,000 hours of sunshine a year at an intensity of 5.8 Watt hours per square metre (Wh/m2) per day. Solar power stations can be set up on uncultivable land, making Senegal “an ideal location for solar energy development.’ A UNEP official said.
With a UN and International Labour Organization study, investing in solar energy and other renewables like hydro-electric and wind power creates more jobs than investing in oil and gas. Faced with a five-fold increase in its fuel bill between 2005 and 2008, Louis Seck, head of Senegal’s Renewable Energy Department, said Senegal not only wants to, but must now invest in renewables.
Head of environmental quality and safety at the National Confederation of Employers in Senegal (CNES) Abdoulaye Fall said solar power could save money in the long term. While it currently costs about US$18.40 to produce one kilowatt hour of electricity using diesel and energy created at giant solar power plants could cost as little as half of this