Africa’s largest solar power plant will be built in Ghana

γκαναMany African countries receive on average 325 days per year of bright sunlight. This gives solar power the potential to bring energy to virtually any location in Africa without the need for expensive large scale grid level infrastructural developments.

The distribution of solar resources across Africa is fairly uniform, with more than 80% of their landscape receiving almost 2000 kW·h per square meter per year. A recent study indicates that a solar generating facility covering just 0.3% of the area comprising North Africa could supply all of the energy required by the European Union. 

Thus, solar energy is considered as a resource of energy that has to be fully exploited. Blue Energy, the British company behind the largestsolar power plant in Africa which will be built in Ghana, announced that the construction on the Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by the end of 2013, with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules.

Nezma project will definetely improve people’s lives since will provide 500 construction jobs over a two-year build, 200 permanent posts once operational and is expected to lead to a further 2,100 local jobs through sub-contracting to Ghanaian firms and demand for goods, services and education. 

It is estimated the huge project will bring in $100 million in tax take for the Ghanaian government over its lifetime and save 5.5 million tones of CO2, based on the emissions from an oil-fired power station with the same generating capacity.

Nzema alone will increase the total installed power generation capacity of Ghana by 6 per cent and will account for a fifth of the government’s 2020 renewable energy target in one swoop as well as supplying enough energy to power 220,000 homes. 

8 responses to “Africa’s largest solar power plant will be built in Ghana

  1. Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Sunny climes where solar PV can really get to work…

    • Two things: economics of solar panels, which includes lifespan, and realities of maintenance.

      I was in Dubai and Abu Dhabi recently. Solar panels are positioned at the local water pumping stations for the windbreak palm trees lining the interior highways. All very dusty, regularly. Cleaning is clearly an issue in a place where there is a lot of money.

      The maintenance of this system in Ghana will be an interesting challenge.

      Like wind turbines everywhere, the struggle is not in the initial installation but in the on-going maintenance and replacement. The initial effort can be politically driven, but the continuation of effort has to be economically attractive and physically effective.

      • Project director Douglas Coleman, from Mere Power Nzema Ltd. who will build the plant, told BBC News that it was “fully cooked” in planning terms.
        More specifically he said that “The project has land, it has planning consent, it has a generating licence, and it has received a feed-in tariff,” he added that “it is the right plant in the right place at the right time.”

        The company behind the scheme is majority owned and funded by members of the Stadium Group, a large European private asset and development company with £2.5bn under management.

        Ash Sharma, industry analyst at IMS Research, believes that the backing of this firm plus the feed-in tariff makes the idea viable. “One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been overcome and the financing looks like it could be in a good position to succeed I would say.”
        (*source bbc.co.uk)
        I believe that the experts have taken into account all the costs and the project will achieve its target efficiently.

  2. What happens when the sun goes down and domestic power is required ?

    Talking about maintenance, the story goes that when Kaunda ran Zamibia, Mercedes vehicles supplied by the UN to his government officials were regularly abandoned at the roadside whenever repair was required and a new one took its place.

  3. It seems quite doubtful that solar panels in Ghana will be better at converting or storing solar energy, than the forest they displace.

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