Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas has inaugurated the first phase of the 50MW Caraculo solar power plant at Namibe in the south of the country.

The photovoltaic project, which is Angola’s first public-private partnership in the renewable energy sector, is being developed by Solenova, a joint venture (jv) of national oil company Sonangol and Azule Energy (the new Eni/BP Angola jv).

The 25MW first phase, comprising 46,000 tracker-mounted bifacial solar panels built over 33 hectares, began electricity production in March. Construction had started in June 2022 and was carried out by Italy’s Saipem.

Energy minister, Diamantino Azevedo was present at the inauguration ceremony on 30 May. He said the completion of the first phase represented an important step for Sonangol in its transformation from oil company to energy company.

Azevedo added that Angola wants clean energy to account for 70% of its energy mix by 2025.

Sebastião Martins, chairman of the board of directors at Sonangol said it was a milestone for new opportunities and for communication between the public and private sectors.

The inauguration followed the achievement days earlier of a significant milestone on another major renewable energy project in Angola: the 2,172MW Caculo Cabaça hydro scheme.

The diversion of the Kwanza River, on which the project is being built, was completed on 20 May, which means construction can now commence on the main body of the dam. 

China Gezhouba Group, a subsidiary of China Energy Engineering, is executing the project, which will involve more than 10,000 workers at peak construction.

The US$5.2 billion hydro scheme is due to be completed in 2026.

 Photo: Solar field (© Pedro Antonio Salaverra Calahorra | Dreamstime)

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