Guinea-Bissau announces first solar plant

An American utility company has begun the construction of the first solar power plant in electricity-starved Guinea-Bissau, officials said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Rui Duarte Barros on Tuesday laid the first stone of Suntrough Energy's $30 million (23 million euro) photovoltaic station on outskirts of the capital of the west African nation, his office said.

"This facility will help us to solve the energy issue and will also create 200 jobs," Barros said at the ceremony, according to a press statement released by Suntrough.

It will take six months to complete, a company source said.

Power cuts are frequent in the capital Bissau due to the inability of its only power plant to meet demand in the country that is among the poorest in the world, according to the United Nations.