A joint venture between Italy’s Eni and Angolan state energy company Sonangol has lain the foundation stone of what will be the central African nation’s first photovoltaic power plant in Caraculo, Namibe province.

Dedicated to growing the renewables business in Angola, the Solenova joint venture is equally owned by the Italian major and the country’s national oil company.

The launch ceremony was attended by Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum & Gas Diamantino Azevedo, Namibe Province Governor Archer Mangueira, Solenova chief executive Germano Sacavumbi and Eni Angola managing director Adriano Mongini, as well as other provincial, Sonangol and government representatives, including from state-owned utilities.

Eni said the Caraculo project comprises two phases, each with a capacity of 25 megawatts, with the electrical power dispatched to Angola’s southern electricity grid.

Italian contractor Saipem is leading the construction.

The project aims to reduce diesel consumption and support the energy transition in Angola’s southern region.

Eni reported that the photovoltaic plant will be able to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The project comes under the auspices of the government’s Angola Energy 2025 strategy, which aims to provide people with access to basic energy services.

It will also contribute to the government’s action plan in the energy and water sectors that is targeting 500 MW of additional renewables energy by the end of 2022, with a focus on utility scale solar projects.

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