Scatec Solar to build 50 MW Ghana PV plant

Norway’s Scatec Solar has struck a deal to construct a 50 MW PV plant in Ghana through its local partner, Scatec Solar Ghana.

Projected to cost in the region of €70 million ($95 million), the PV plant will be located in an as-yet-undecided location in the north of the country, and is scheduled to come online by 2015. The plant will become Africa’s second-largest solar farm after Scatec completed a 75 MW plant in South Africa earlier this year.

"We have had engagement with Ghana’s Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), and we think that with all the efforts from these various institutions Scatec Solar’s plant will come onstream as planned," said the director of Scatec Solar Ghana, Fred Nuerte Nuer.

Africa’s solar future

Nuer’s comments came just a few days before Scatec Solar’s COO, Terje Pilskog, suggested that Africa requires an investment of $100 billion in its solar industry over the next decade if the continent is to wean itself off polluting and unsustainable sources of energy.

"These are enormous investments we are talking about for the next 10 years," said Pilskog. "We are talking about close to $100 billion in investment needs to meet the target in Africa. In order to make this happen, the private sector needs to be mobilized."

Scatec Solar held a meeting last week with leading stakeholders in Africa’s energy sector, discussing the opportunities that exist within the continent at all levels. At the event, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Hege Hertzberg, remarked that solar was one of Africa’s greatest – but as yet largely untapped – natural resources.

"Solar is the solution to so many challenges," she said. "The raw material is here, and it will last longer than oil and gas. The monthly average solar irradiation in Ghana, for instance, is between 4.4 and 5.6 kWh/m²/day, with sunshine duration between 1,800 and 3,000 hours per annum."

According to figures published by the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa alone requires the injection of approximately $300 billion in investment if the area is to achieve its goal of universal connection to an electricity grid by 2030.

Currently, according to the World Bank, just 29% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to a steady and reliable power source. Earlier this month, the U.S.’s ‘Power Africa’ initiative – aimed at addressing many of Africa’s energy shortfalls – pledged a five-year, $7 billion investment in the continent.