As part of efforts to encourage the use of renewable energy in Ghana, the Energy Commission has announced plans to distribute 200,000 rooftop solar panels to homes.
The move will reduce the power consumption on the national grid by 200 megawatts, representing about 15 percent of the country’s total consumption capacity.
But before one can benefit from this, the beneficiary must first show evidence he or she has enough money to purchase other components that will make solar generation possible.
Board Chairman of the Energy Commission, Dr Kwame Ampofo announced this at the launch of Ghana Energy Statistics Handbook and public ballot for the solar panels.
“The initial part of the program is to do 200,000 homes. That is a huge number,” he said.
“…Currently the deficit we are experiencing is only 100 to 200 megawatts. So the investment in this solar program, if achieved will make us avoid the gap or the deficit we are having now through solar system.
“It was a wise policy decision to develop our energy system to depend on thermal,” he explained.
He said the cost of not having power at all as compared is worse than the cost to be incurred in putting up the solar panels.
“Try and cost not having power at all. Your industries will not work, your health department will not work. People will die, factories will lay off people… there is going to be chaos. That chaos put into cost. It costs more, he said,” adding, at whatever cost, the country must strive to get its solar panels as part of the energy generation mix.
A visit to a small hospital in northern Ghana changed Mahama Nyankamawu’s life forever. “It was dark, they had no electricity and the medicines they had had all gone bad,” recalled the 40-year-old, who went to the hospital after a car accident in 2014.
The experience inspired Nyankamawu to create Volta, a company that builds solar power projects for health clinics, schools and farms across Ghana.
Volta’s customers pay for 25% of the capital costs upfront, and the rest via monthly payments over two years. None of Nyankamawu’s customers have ever missed a payment, Nyankamawu said.
“Our model works best when it’s a substitute for people who are already using diesel generators,” he added. “They’re saving up to 45% on their costs by switching to solar.”
I met Nyankamawu at the Clean Energy Ministerial in San Francisco earlier this month, an annual gathering of energy leaders from 23 countries and the European Union. The meeting marked the first time the ministers met since more than 170 countries signed the Paris climate agreement to limit the global temperature rise to under 2C, a goal that won’t be met without strong domestic policies that give the businesses incentives to invest in a low-carbon future.
But that’s not what I have seen. A growing number of companies are turning to renewable energy to reduce their carbon footprint. I am impressed with entrepreneurs like Nyankamawu and other business leaders who work on making renewable energy affordable and accessible. And they represent progress. Putting money in renewable energy, whether through power purchase agreements with big solar and wind farms in the US, or tiny household-sized solar projects inAfrica, was a rarity even just five years ago.
Many Fortune 500 companies recognize a direct connection between climate change and their financial wellbeing. Earlier this month, a half-dozen major companies, including TD Bank and Interface, joinedRE100, a coalition of businesses that are switching to 100% renewable electricity. The shift has been especially strong in the US, where large corporate buyers contracted a record 3.2 gigawatts of renewable energy last year, nearly 20% of the 16.4 gigawatts of renewables added to the US electric grid overall. That means tens of thousands of workers rely on solar and wind power to do their jobs, and that number will only go up.
One of the most impressive efforts I heard at the San Francisco meeting came from Lisa Jackson, who leads Apple’s environmental and social initiatives. Jackson talked about the company’s effort to use solar and wind energy to run its own global operations and the factories in China that make its iPhones and iPads, including a plan to bring online 2,000 megawatts of green energy there. The company would work with its suppliers there to build those projects.
Some of the most compelling stories came from Africa. Home to the world’sfastest growing population, the continent is a key front in the Paris climate agreement’s quest. In Tanzania, Off-Grid Electric allows homes and small businesses to install solar systems and pay for them via mobile phone payments. Off-Grid says it’s currently installing more than 10,000 solar units every month in Tanzania and Rwanda, and recently raised $70m from San Francisco-based DBL Partners and other investors to help hire more staff and expand operations.
More businesses will switch to renewable energy if they are able to finance it. We saw a record $329bn in global clean energy investment last year, but that falls short of the estimated $1tn that will be neededevery year through 2050 to help achieve the 2C goal. A major emission producing country such as India, which aims to install 175 gigawatts of wind and solar power by 2022, will need an estimated $200bn to reach that milestone. The country attracted $10.9bn in clean energy investments last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
There is one group of investors who could help fill that gap, but they have yet to value renewable energy investments: institutional investors. They manage public pension, insurance and other funds that are worth trillions of dollars. These investors are dipping their toes in clean energy in US and Europe but remain on the sidelines in emerging markets, which they consider particularly risky.
Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, likened the challenge of fighting climate change to climbing Mount Everest: “We’ve just reached base camp.”
No doubt, getting to the top of the mountain will require huge participation from the business community globally.
The window of time to summit is now – and they’ll need to move quickly.
Ghana is to receive some 100 mega watts of power in 2017 to help ease the power challenges confronting the country.
It follows the award of a $704,815 grant by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to Ghanaian solar power developer, Home Energy Africa Limited.
The grant will also offer technical assistance for the generation of the 100-megawatt solar power to feed the national grid.
The photovoltaic (PV) project which is near financial closure is situated in the village of Nyimbale-Sankana, in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
USTDA’s partnership with Home Energy Africa also falls in line with the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. government-led initiative to increase electricity access across sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson cited the inadequate electric power supply as one of Ghana’s paramount constraints to sustainable economic growth.
“Businesses and entrepreneurs need electricity to function, so they can contribute to the broad-based economic growth and development that will lift millions out of poverty. That’s why we have made increasing access to power one of the top priorities for our bilateral relationship,”
Ambassador added, “Presently, Ghana has 2,450 megawatts of installed generation capacity. The government of Ghana aspires to double that capacity to 5,000 megawatts this year, including 10 percent from renewable sources. Through programmes such as Power Africa, the Partnership for Growth, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we’re cooperating with government, the private sector and others to make Ghana’s future brighter.”
The CEO of Home Energy Africa Charles Sena Ayenu told Citi Business News the project when completed in 2017 is expected to create over 200 permanent jobs for the youth.
“This is a 100 mega watts power project and based on our estimate today we are looking at generating about 200 jobs for this particular project. We are mainly looking at hiring people from those living in the community to work on the site. It will be value addition for the community as the youth will be employed and be part of the project which will help ease the power challenges in the country at the moment.”
The project will also meet Ghana’s goals for clean and sustainable energy, and provide electricity to at least 80,000 average homes in Ghana, the company is looking at debt and equity financing for the $150 million solar project.
Charles Sena Ayenu further noted that the company has already secured 30 per cent equity from a French company, the Erin Group. The other 70 per cent it says it expects to raise from stock.
Home Energy Africa has selected GreenMax Capital Advisors (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to carry out the technical assistance.
This will include preparation for power purchase agreement negotiations, services contracts and financing arrangements.
Implementation of the project will support the Government of Ghana in achieving its target of 5,000 MW of installed generation, including 10 percent from renewable sources.
– See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2016/05/22/700000-solar-project-to-reduce-ghanas-power-challenges/#sthash.pRlLVdKY.dpuf
The Ghana Energy Commission would in August organise the second Renewable Energy Conference and Exhibition to explore investment and financing in the solar energy sector to attract investors.
The exhibition aims at creating a common platform for dissemination of information on renewable energy and energy efficiency, enhance consultation between the private sector, donors, financiers, decision makers and consumers.
It would also give the platform for enterprises in that sector to showcase their products and network.
The 2016 Renewable Energy Conference, scheduled for August 9 to 11, would run concurrently with the exhibition over the three days.
An official statement from the Commission, copied to the Ghana News Agency, said participation and admission to the conference would be free for local participants and admission would be on first come first serve basis.
It said foreign participants registering before June 30, 2016 would be required to pay a registration fee of 300 dollars. Thereafter, the registration fee would be 500 dollars.
“Online registration would be opened from May 2, 2016 and opportunities also exist for 15 minutes presentations on Renewable Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency options to be made by both companies and individuals during the conference.
“Participants interested in making presentations should submit a synopsis of their proposed presentations by 13th May, 2016 for consideration,” the statement said.
Topics should be related to the theme; “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: Accelerating Energy Access and Security.”
They should also include renewable energy technologies for electricity, heat, fuel production, energy efficiency technologies, clean cooking solutions, and policy, regulations, licensing, standards and labelling, it added.
The Ghana Renewable Energy Fair’s flagship programme, dubbed: “Investment Forum” was held on November 4, 2015 which involved top executives from government institutions, private developers, financial institutions and development partners.
It explored investment and financing opportunities in large scale rooftop solar and regulatory instruments to attract private sector investment.
Significant increases of utility tariffs in Nigeria and Ghana are improving the business case for solar by providing money to utilities and bringing competition to the power market, according to energy developers.
Speaking to PV Tech at the Solar and Off-grid Renewables West Africa event in Accra, Ghana, Lord Gati, chief operations officer of renewables developer Axcon Energy, said that one of the key challenges for solar developers in Ghana is the financial credibility of the main utility Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Gati said any developer looking to build 20MW of solar in the country will be looking to feed power to ECG, but investors need to be sure of payments coming from the utility for the solar energy produced.
The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission sanctioned a 120% rate hike at the end of last year for electricity, which means that consumers will be paying a commercial rate for the first time, giving enough money to ECG for investors to become more confident that payments for solar projects won’t be missed.
Also speaking to PV Tech, John Okoro, team leader in mining and metals for renewable energy firm Vergnet, said: “The utility company in Ghana is undergoing structural adjustments and improvements and its a process that takes years.
“In West Africa, people are used to getting electricity for free, which is what predisposed the indebtedness of many of these companies.”
A reliance on cheap hydropower was followed by thermal power, but now governments are demanding that people pay for electricity. Okoro said this changes people’s mentality towards energy and they are careful about the quality of appliances they have in their houses, power ratings and international standards.
Nigeria also saw a rate hike of 100% in January.
Okoro said such policies are being brought in across Africa and not just in Nigeria and Ghana. If a fair value is not assigned to thermal power then renewables have no business case and they will not grow.
Referring to the rate hikes, Okoro added: “It is going to lead to the growth of renewable energy projects after a long period of time and then that change is on-going. It is just starting now.”
On other matters, Gati said that he does not expect the Ghana government to relax its cap on 20MW solar projects in the near future, however he also cited the figure that Ghana has lost US$3 billion in potential investments in the last three years due to its power outage and shortage issues.
Gati added: “There are new companies that would like to come in and they need 24/7 power.”
A grid-connected 100 megawatt (MW) solar power plant in the north of Ghana could save the country 40,000 tonnes in annual CO2 emissions, create 3,000 direct jobs, provide livelihoods for 23,000 of the poorest people and earn the country an annual $38 million from energy export.
The technical and legal infrastructure is already in place to accommodate up to 220 MW of intermittent solar power, found the new report, entitledGhana Strategy Proposal – Realizing solar PV projects in a cross-border power supply context, released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Green Economy and Trade Opportunities Project (GE-TOP).
Launched at the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa 2016conference, the study also found that the ongoing and planned upgrades of the transmission system between Ghana and Burkina Faso will raise the cross-border carrying capacity to 400 MW, further increasing Ghana’s solar energy export potential.
In 2013, the grid access in Ghana was estimated at 72 per cent. The country`s vision of an “Energy Economy” strives to further electrification domestically and turn Ghana into a major exporter of power to other West African countries. To that end, Ghana has set itself an ambitious target of nearly doubling its power generation capacity by 2020, with renewable sources to represent 10 per cent of the energy mix, and has engaged in the West African Power Pool (WAPP) to promote integration and harmonization of the regional power market.
UNEP’s report supports these efforts by proposing a strategy for selecting a solar-ready, cross-border grid line between Ghana and Burkina Faso, securing preferential financing, and approving installation, including an in-depth assessment of technical and financial requirements.
The Strategy Proposal builds on the GE-TOP Ghana Solar Export Potential Study launched in September last year, which found that Ghana has, in theory, a total solar power generation potential of 106.2 gigawatts, on available land within 20 kilometres from the national power grid. This is around two thirds of the current installed capacity in all of Africa.
The report proposes solutions to the major technology challenge of integrating a variable source of energy, such as solar power, into the grid. Such a move can cause problems with power quality, voltage and frequency variations, power fluctuations and system stability.
The Strategy Proposal and the Solar Export Potential Study were prepared by UNEP in partnership with The Energy Centre (TEC) at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana. The project is endorsed by the national government, whose four ministries actively contributed to the reports. The project is financially supported by the European Commission (EC).
For more information, please contact
Chiara Moroni, UNEP Economics and Trade Branch, +41229178766, firstname.lastname@example.org