Ghana: PV’s next steps

At the end of 2011, Ghana’s President signed the Renewable Energy Act 831 (REA 831) – which will be put in place by the beginning of June – with the goal to increase the share of new renewables in the country to ten percent in 2020, with large-scale hydro 75 percent renewables.

Part of the REA 831 will be a GreenFund, which will finance different measures, such as a "social transfer mechanism" within the planned FIT, incentives for domestic production and measures for more effective grid integration. Finance mechanisms are still pending on how to fund the GreenFund. One proposal is to introduce levies on energy intensive industries, on the gas or petroleum industries, on biofuels and also on distributing utilities. It has also been mooted that private or international donors could provide funds for the GreenFund.

There have been no official announcements to date regarding the levels of FITs in REA 831, but a Ministry of Energy Spokesmen said that something in the region of US$0.20 cents per-kilowatt-hour could be expected, for ten years. At present this rate would be reviewed on a biannual basis.

"This is a big step forward for more photovoltaics in Ghana," said Henk Vermeer, Managing Director Energiebau-Sunergy Ghana. The present goal for installed capacity by 2020 in the country is for a total of only 30 megawatts (MW). However, Gifty Tettey, from the Ministry of Energy, underlined at the Energy Forum that this goal could be increased. Already last year, companies like Energiebau-Sunergy Ghana has increased its installations ten-fold, added Vermeer, and reached a total of 1.8 MW.

Ghana’s biggest electricity utility, the Volta River Authority – responsible for the huge Volta River hydro-dam – announced a new two MW ground-mounted solar park in northern Ghana, according to Amoako Adjeri, the Director of Planning and Business Development with the company. At the energy forum he announced that the Volta River Authority already have plans for an additional of six to eight MW of photovoltaic installations in its project pipeline.