Abu Dhabi sustainable tech firm Masdar is expanding the scope of its role in Mauritania by rolling out an additional 12MW of solar energy capacity across the country — enough to displace 6 million litres of diesel fuel or over 16,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

Masdar first entered Mauritania two years ago, when it was involved in the installation of a 15MW solar power plant outside the capital city of Nouakchott, which at full operation provides up to 10% of Mauritania’s electricity needs.

Its latest initiative will provide clean energy to seven towns in the country, providing about 30% of their electricity needs while reducing the amount of diesel needed during peak demand by 70% — reducing pollution while ensuring a more secure delivery of electricity.

The completion of the Masdar projects is scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.

Masdar will be issuing tenders for the projects over the next couple of weeks, for which it has also pledged to include as much local suppliers and as many local contractors as possible.

Most of the new plants are being oversized so that they can eventually be installed with additional capacity if needed.

Sunnier climes

Masdar is also currently involved in the development of an $18m solar park in Freetown, Sierra Leone, which is being part-funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development as part of a cycle of loans under the coordination of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Masdar is manufacturing the photo-voltaic solar panels for the project, while Sharjah, UAE-based Mulk Oasis Gulf Investment is handling the engineering, procurement and construction.

Sierra Leone’s solar park will be completed in around 15 months and will generate sufficient power for some 3,000 households in Freetown and its suburbs.

“This will be a flagship project not only for us, but for the whole region of West Africa,” highlighted Kaifala Marah, Sierra Leone’s minister for finance and planning at the time.

In May, the Abu Dhabi fund also signed a $5m loan agreement for the construction of four coastal wind farms in Mauritania that will provide over 270kW in wind power capacity, bringing the total of loans extended to the West African country by the vehicle to $80m.