On July 20th, 2022, the President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lorenço, inaugurated the first two utility-scale solar photovoltaic plants in Biopio and Baia Farta in the Province of Benguela. The inauguration crowned a 19-month period, during which a total of 770,400 solar panels were installed in Biopio and Baia Farta, along with all related civil and electrical equipment and accessories.
A key enabler of Angola’s transition to renewable and clean energy, these transformational plants can collectively deliver up to 585 GWh of electric energy annually – saving over 214 million litres of diesel (which would have been required to generate this electric energy by diesel powered plants) and consequently eliminating up to 723,000 tons of CO2 every year, reducing Angola’s greenhouse gas emissions and substantiating the country’s commitment to the Glasgow United Nations Climate Change Conference of November 2021.
The two power plants have the following main characteristics:
|Total Power DC||188 MWp||96 MWp|
|Total Power AC||144.9 MVA||75.9 MW|
|Number of solar panels (370 W and 375 W)||509,040||261,360|
|Number of tracking systems (90 panels each)||5,656||2,904|
|Number of power blocks (4600 KVA each)||32||17|
|Number of inverters (2091 MW nominal each)||63||33|
|Area of solar plant||360 ha||160 ha|
|Perimeter of the project||8.88 km||5.2 km|
To allow for the interconnection with the national electrical network, the Biopio plant included one step-up substation delivering power at the 220-kV level, with 2x75 MVA power transformers connected to a 2-km 220 kV transmission line up to Biopio’s existing 220 kV switching station, which was also expanded to accommodate this connection. Baia Farta also included a step-up substation delivering power at the 60-kV level, with 1x75 MVA transformer, connected to a 2-km 60 kV transmission line up to Baia Farta’s existing 60/30 kV substation, which was also expanded to accommodate this connection.
Dar provided design review and supervision services for these two plants as well as five other photovoltaic plants that are under construction in Saurimo (26.9 MWp), Luena (26.9 MWp), Lucapa (7.2 MWp), Bailundo (7.99 MWp) and Cuito (14.65 MWp).