Largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant to be built in Africa, this could spark a renewable energy revolution in West Africa. The giant 155-megawatt Nzema project will be one of the biggest in the world – only three solar PV plants in operation today are bigger. This will increase Ghana’s generating capacity by at least 6%. Ghana has a traget of generating at least 10% of its electricity from renewable power generation by the year 2020. At a cost of $350 million the Nzema project will be fully operational by 2017. Many other renewable energy power plants and projects are planned in the West African region. Nzeme Solar PV plant is the first project to get unerway under Ghana’s 2011 Renewable Energy Act.
More than 630 000 solar PV modules will be installed at the site once construction begins.
ECONOMIC GROWTH PROSPECTS
The Nzema project is well situated with excellent solar radiation and access to major road systems. There will be a direct connections to the West African Power Pool 161kV tranmission line. This transmission line linkes Ghana to Togo, Benin, Nigeria and Ivory Coast and is under utelised.
Hydro Electricity Power Generation
Hydroelectric power is the source of most of Ghana’s electricity. Unfortenatly hydroelectric generation is very vulnerable to droughts. The government has set a target of more than doubling its installed capacity, from 2600 MW today to 5500MW by 2015. The Renewable Energy Act is a key part of this strategy and enjoys all party political support.
THE LONG TERM OPPORTUNITY
Africa is ideally placed to take advantage of solar energy, but up to now it has failed to take off for a variety of reasons including unsupportive regulatory environments, energy underpricing, lack of technical capacity and a weak supply chain.