Niger's biggest solar power plant started operating amid the punitive measures imposed by neighboring Nigeria, which cut off electricity in response to a coup in Niger in July, French media reported.
There are over 55,000 solar panels on the plant, which could generate 30 megawatts of electricity, the reports noted.
According to the outlet, Niger's military-appointed Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy, Mahaman Moustapha Barke, said that initially it had been planned to launch the facility on August 25. However, the departure of most technical personnel after to the coup delayed the start. Thanks to the specialists who remained in the country's capital Niamey, the launch of the plant was made possible, the minister added.
In response to the military coup in Niger in late July, ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Niger, with Nigeria, which is also member of the regional bloc, cutting off energy supplies to its neighbor.
Niger's national power company Nigelec reportedly purchased about 70% of the electricity in 2022 from Nigeria, Niger's only power supplier.
However, Barke highlighted that an "improvement in the quality of the [power] service" in Niamey and the country's towns of Dosso and Tillaberi was noted by Nigelec, the report said.
A coup took place in Niger on July 26 during which incumbent President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guard, led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani. The military-run National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland closed the country's borders and broke security agreements with France, the country's former colonial master.