13.09.2017

Tunisia: First photovoltaic power plant under construction

Silke Stadtmann (KfW Development Bank), Mr Moncef Harrabi (PDG STEG), Anette Kaiser (German Embassy), Tunisian Energy Minister Héla Cheikhrouhou, Mr Salah Mtiraoui (Governor of Tozeur), Premier Cons. Silvia Chiave (Italian Embassy), Stefano Neri (TerniEnergia S.p.A.) (from left to right). Photo: © Mohamed Ali Souilem/STEG

Silke Stadtmann (KfW Development Bank), Mr Moncef Harrabi (PDG STEG), Anette Kaiser (German Embassy), Tunisian Energy Minister Héla Cheikhrouhou, Mr Salah Mtiraoui (Governor of Tozeur), Premier Cons. Silvia Chiave (Italian Embassy), Stefano Neri (TerniEnergia S.p.A.) (from left to right). Photo: © Mohamed Ali Souilem/STEG

The foundation stone for Tunisia’s first photovoltaic power plant was laid in Tozeur in the southwest of the country in July. This ceremony marked the start of an important first phase in the implementation of Tunisia’s solar power plan and the country’s transition to clean energy. Tunisia aims to generate 30% of its electricity from renewable energies by 2030.

With an output of 10 megawatts, the new plant will go into service in 2018. Its construction was possible thanks to a low-interest loan of EUR 11.5 million from KfW Development Bank and EUR 1.5 million of funding from the European Union’s Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF). The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Environment Ministry (BMUB) is supporting construction of the plant and monitoring the project with a total of EUR 2.8 million as part of the ‘Tunisian Solar Plan: PV Project in Tozeur’.

The official opening ceremony on 24 July was attended by the Tunisian Energy Minister Héla Cheikhrouhou and other high-ranking government and embassy representatives. Financing contracts between the Tunisian energy producer Société tunisienne de l'électricité et du gaz (STEG) and KfW Development Bank had previously been signed in November 2016.

The power plant will enable efficient generation of electrical energy that is both environmentally and socially compatible. At the same time, it marks the start of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) technology in Tunisia, with a view to further reducing harmful CO2 emissions and imports of fossil fuels. Diversification of the energy mix will also help to improve Tunisia’s energy security.