REUTERS - In an expanse of sand 60 miles (100 km) north of Senegal's capital, two men set to work digging up tree stumps to clear space for what could soon be the biggest solar plant in West Africa.

In less than a year, says developer Senergy PV SA, this shrubby lot will be covered with 96,000 gleaming solar panels from China, injecting up to 30 megawatts into the grid.

It is an attractive prospect for a nation with a dire power deficit, and which currently meets most of its needs by burning imported oil in hugely inefficient diesel generators.

"The context is favourable," Karim Ndiaye, investment director at French private equity firm Meridiam, which bought out the original Senergy company in 2014, told Reuters.

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