First-of-its-kind commercial solar and battery system commissioned in Sierra Leone to cut carbon emissions and enhance sustainable forestry
27 September 2022, Sierra Leone (Tonkolili)—A flagship 236 kWp solar PV, 389 kWh battery storage facility commissioned at Miro Forestry and Timber Products’ Tonkolili factory on Tuesday marks a new milestone for sustainability in Sierra Leone’s forestry sector. The renewable energy system will be able to provide 25% of the factory’s power, cutting its reliance on fossil fuels, and delivering substantial savings on Miro’s current power costs.
Minister of Energy for Sierra Leone Hon. Alhaji Kanja Sesay heralded the project, saying: “This new fully financed solar solution will help Miro to move away from costly and polluting generators, and to stand by their broader corporate commitment to sustainability. The installation of a solar and battery system at Miro Forestry today by CrossBoundary Energy is an indication of another, more positive trend underway on the continent, and in our own country. Investors and their financial partners are increasingly calling on leading enterprises to decarbonize and to find ways to leverage renewable energy solutions.”
The project is the first commercial and industrial solar power purchase agreement for a forestry business in West Africa. The CrossBoundary-Miro Forestry solar and battery system is also the first with a Battery and Energy Storage System (BESS).
The Honorable Minister of Energy was joined by Representatives from USAID and leadership from Miro Forestry and CrossBoundary Energy for a button-pushing ceremony to officially commission the site.
CrossBoundary Energy entered the Sierra Leone market in 2017, facilitated through support from a USAID Joint Development Agreement and $1 million in grant funding, which was matched by CrossBoundary Energy.
Ms. Mariama Diallo, USAID Private Sector Engagement Specialist in Sierra Leone, said: “A reliable source of energy is critical for economic growth. The United States is very proud to have financed this renewable energy project to help Sierra Leonean businesses grow and create jobs. The successful completion of this project is an indicator of a favorable business environment and an example of a public/private partnership model to encourage a wider adoption of renewable power for a green economy.”
Tessa Lee, Head of Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs at CrossBoundary Energy, said: “Our fully financed solar photovoltaic systems for Miro Forestry provide this leading Sierra Leonean business with cheaper, cleaner, reliable solar power with no upfront capital investment. It is an example of small-scale distributed generation and demonstrates how commercial-scale battery energy storage systems are becoming more accessible and affordable, making commercial solar solutions more efficient.”
Charles Bowsworth, Founder and Strategy Director, Miro Forestry and Timber Products, said: “Miro’s plantations are Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) certified and managed to the highest social and environmental standards. Transitioning our Tonkolili facility to renewable energy is an important step towards advancing Miro’s core mission of sustainability. The solar and battery system will provide 25% of the Tonkolili factory’s power while providing significant reduction in our carbon emissions.”