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Sonelgaz Algeria plans the Construction of 20 photovoltaic solar power plants.

Sonelgaz is preparing to conclude today 19 contracts with national and foreign companies, with a view to launching the construction of twenty photovoltaic solar power plants. This initiative is part of the 1000 megawatt and 2000 megawatt projects, part of an even more ambitious project aimed at ultimately producing 15,000 megawatts of electricity based on solar energy, which will enable the Algeria to save several billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.

Speaking yesterday on national radio, Professor Boukhalfa Yaïci, general director of the Green Energy Cluster Algeria, announced that Sonelgaz will today conclude several contracts with national and foreign companies, mainly Chinese, with a view to the construction of 20 photovoltaic solar power plants, as part of the 2000 megawatt and 1000 megawatt projects. These projects will also involve Algerian companies which will assume 42% of the achievements, he underlined. Clearly, the 2000 megawatt project includes the construction of 15 photovoltaic solar power plants distributed in 12 wilayas, with a unit power varying between 80 and 220 megawatts, while the Solar 1000 project plans, for its part, the construction of five power plants, in five wilayas, with a unit power varying between 50 and 300 megawatts. The two initiatives, he added, are part of the 15,000 megawatt program, with the prospect of other similar projects being announced in the country in the coming months.

Regarding the completion deadlines, he estimated that it will take 22 months for the completion of the two projects, stressing that “some of these plants will gradually enter service this year”.

Export is one of the objectives

These two projects could also prove beneficial from an export perspective. Questioned on this subject, Mr. Yaïci replied that “this question is certainly the subject of discussions between the European Union and Algeria, because there is a favorable situation for both parties”. “The European Union is showing an interest in our gas, while for our part, we are motivated by the energy transition,” he underlined. In this context, he affirmed that “the role of Sonelgaz is clearly defined within the framework of the overall energy transition strategy”. According to him, it is a matter of ”
gradually moving from electricity production exclusively powered by gas to production integrating renewable energies, in particular solar”, in order to meet part of the national demand for electricity. and, possibly, export surplus production, he argued.

The question of financing

The speaker also had the opportunity to answer a question relating to sources of financing. In this regard, he stressed that “the project will be entirely financed by Algeria”, specifying however that access should be open “to various other sources of financing, thanks to public-private partnerships or even foreign direct investments , in order to stimulate this energy transition which, as you know, is expensive.”

Regarding the integration rate, he indicated that it will exceed 35% initially set, stressing that the two projects will have a beneficial impact on the consumption of natural gas and will save between 600 and 800 million meters cubes of natural gas for each gigawatt produced using solar power. “Sonelgaz has calculated that the 15,000 megawatt solar project could save six to eight billion cubic meters of gas per year,” he added.

Efforts to catch up

Responding to a question on the progress made in the world, particularly in terms of price and accessibility to photovoltaics, Mr. Yaïci said that “every day, across the planet, a gigawatt of capacity is installed, while in our country, it took ten years to install 500 megawatts.” “It is true that it is now that we will begin to install the equivalent of one gigawatt per year, but what we must understand is that this type of market will allow the creation of the necessary conditions to develop locally an industry dedicated to it,” he concluded.

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