NewsWest AfricaSolar solutions in Ghana


Posted on Monday, 06 May 2013 18:34

Solar solutions in Ghana

By Gemma Ware in Accra

The $400m Nzema project will cover 183ha in Western Region/Photo©BLUE ENERGYRenewable energy sources play a significant role in plans to double electricity production in the next four years.


The problem with a lot of renewable energy projects, says Douglas Coleman, is that their founders talk them up too big and too soon.

Coleman is the project manager for Nzema, a 155MW solar project to be built by British company Blue Energy in western Ghana, which is in the final stages of project financing.

"The renewable world is littered with projects that never make it because people tend not to follow
a solid sequential path," he says.

Working through its subsidiary Mere Power Nzema, Blue Energy chose not to seek financing until all its permits were safely in place.

The company has spent the past three years quietly getting its paperwork together, including a wholesale generating licence and an environmental permit.

Coleman now says he expects to finalise the $400m of financing within the first half of 2013 and for construction to begin later this year.

It will be built on a 183ha site leased for 100 years near Aiwiaso in the Western Region, 85km west of the Takoradi deepwater port and close to the main electricity transmission line for the Western Region.

Blocks of solar panels will be built in phases, allowing the first generation to begin in early 2014, with the plant due to reach full capacity by late 2015.

The Ghanaian government plans to double installed capacity from 2,800MW in 2010 to 5,600MW in 2017.

The majority currently comes from hydroelectricity: output from the 1,020MW Akosombo Dam is due to be joined later this year by another 400MW from the Bui Dam.

Deregulation of Ghana's energy industry started in the mid 2000s and is ongoing. A clear legislative framework has attracted independent power investors. budget tours to uzbekistan

A renewable energy law that came onto the statute books in December 2011 provides further incentives for renewable investors, such as an obligation to be connected to the network and feed-in tariffs that guarantee a price for their electricity.

Last year, energy ministry deputy director Seth Mahu said the government is looking for $1bn of investment in renewables●

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