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Ghana's Solar Energy Revolution!
The country of Ghana plans to have built within the next 2 years the largest solar power plant in Africa.
The plan was conceptualized by the United Kingdom’s Blue Energy the project will create nearly 1000 well-paying jobs in Ghana, approximately 220 permanent jobs and 600 construction jobs it is also expected to boost the nation’s electricity capacity by 6%. Construction on the Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by November of 2013 starting with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules. Ghana which has also invested in telecommunications and automotive infrastructure building has a target of increasing renewable energy capacity from its current 1% of the country’s energy mix to 10% by 2020. The plant will bring energy to 100,000 homes at the cost of 400m.
Ghana’s forward-thinking strategy makes it the leader in renewable energy revolution in sub-Saharan Africa which will make a strong contribution to the national economy by building it’s middle class Ghana is possibly poised to become the future financial epicenter of sub Saharan African nations. Ghana’s stability is due mainly to leadership that has focused on the well-being of the Ghanaian people as a whole, rather than tribal affiliations.
Renewable solar energy is a technology that allows developing countries to bypass costly energy options such as coal and natural gas that would enslave it to foreign interests. Ghana wants to avoid the fiasco that has plagued Nigeria the largest sub Saharan African exporter of oil. Although Nigeria has vast natural gas, coal, and renewable energy resources that could be used for domestic electricity generation the country lacks policies to harness resources and develop adequate electricity infrastructure. In the Niger Delta oil has been a source of conflict with multiple factions seeking a share of the oil wealth often attacking the oil infrastructure and forcing companies to apply greater force. Oil theft is rampant referred to as "bunkering,"
“The project is currently expecting to use a single supplier… The location was chosen for three reasons. One is stable irradiation levels, which are very good in the region generally. The stability of the network which is adjacent to the project, 30 meters away, with sufficient capacity available in the network to allow us to inject the load. And finally close proximity to the deep water port of Takoradi, in the west of Ghana, given that the majority of components will be imported, because there is very little domestic manufacture or the components that we’ll need.” says Director Douglas Coleman. Coleman says that a key element in helping the project go ahead has been Ghana’s renewable energy law under which the plant has been awarded a feed-in tariff for 20 years. the Nzema plant will use photovoltaic (PV) technology to convert sunlight directly into electricity. Douglas Coleman says the characteristics of the Sun in Ghana favour PV.
“We can predict with great certainty on an annual basis, the output from the plant. That predictability means we can harmonize with the needs of the transmission network, to balance load with generation.”