Togo’s population is approximately 8 million. The country’s annual GDP growth has maintained at 4 to 5% in recent years. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Togo introduced several tax relief measures, including the suspension of tax audits and an exemption from customs and import duties. However, some argue that this move will incur a loss of CFA 20 billion in Togo and deal a blow to its economy. Credit rating agencies Moody’s and S&P have respectively assigned a rating of B3 and B to Togo, although the ratings have not been adjusted with respect to the potential negative impact of the tax incentive on the Togolese economy.
Geographically, Togo lies in the western Africa. It borders Guinea to the south, Ghana to the west, Benin to the east, and Burkina Faso to the north. Over half of the land of Togo comprises hills and ravines, with the south occupied by coastal plains and the central portion by plateaus.
The annual temperature averages 30 °C. The tropical savanna climate dominates the north, where the rainy season lasts from May to September and the dry season from October to April. The tropical rainforest climate dominates the south, where the major dry season spans from mid-November to March, the rainy season from March to July, the minor dry season from August to September, and the minor dry season from the end of September to mid-November. Each year, Togo receives a daily solar radiation of 1,500 kWh/m2 on average.
Renewable energy development
Less than half of the population have access to electricity in Togo. Much of the country is without electricity, particularly in rural areas. To resolve power shortage, the government of Togo has undertaken an energy development program in recent years, under which it strives to achieve 100% electricity coverage across the nation by 2030.
Hydropower comprises the majority of installed renewable capacity in Togo—accounting for 96% of the total, compared with just 4% for solar PV. No other forms of renewable of energy are developed in Togo.
PV development is given priority due to abundant sunlight and significant drop in solar costs. There is no development plan announced for the other renewable sources. As Togo is advancing toward its 2030 goal, PV installations may grow and play an increasingly larger role in the country’s renewable development policy.
Solar policies and outcomes
With a goal of achieving universal electricity access over the next ten years to solve the nationwide power shortage, it has harnessed natural resources to help achieve 100% electrification of all areas.
Togo’s renewable development agenda is premised upon the Togo Electrification Strategy. With solar PV as the major source to fulfil part of domestic electricity demand, the Togolese government joined the Scaling Solar Program initiated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in July 2019 to develop projects ranging from 60 to 80 MW in size. A solar auction was held in January this year, with the outcomes yet to be released.
In addition to drawing on the IFC’s funding, Togo mulls building infrastructures and encourage PV installation through independent-power-producer (IPP) projects, thus facilitate nationwide electricity access. It strives to achieve around 200 MW of installed PV capacity by 2030.
A 50 MW PV system located in Blitta has been constructing since February this year. The project is developed by Amea Power under a 25-year power-purchase agreement. Once the Blitta project is completed, Togo’s installed PV capacity will grow markedly this year, considering that its cumulative installed PV capacity stood at only 3 MW in 2019.
Togo-China trade: Module import and export
China exported 11 to 23 MW of modules to Togo each year from 2017 to 2019—a modest shipment. However, with some projects auctioned under the IFC’s funding and a 50 MW project already under way, Togo’s module demand is likely to stay constant and even grow from this year onwards. Having said that, as Togo’s potential demand stands at 200 MW, its module demand may sit at just 20 to 50 MW—a small quantity but higher than when there was no relevant policy in place.
Solar PV is critical to Togo’s ongoing renewable development initiative, which plays a part in the nation’s 2030 goal of achieving universal electricity access. The Togolese government has signed up to the IFC’s Scaling Solar Program to develop utility-scale projects. It has also undertaken IPP projects to increase solar power production at home, thereby facilitating the campaign to relieve the nationwide power shortage.
To achieve 200 MW of installed PV capacity, Togo needs to import 20 to 50 MW of module each year. This is a small quantity but higher than when no policy was introduced.
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