Ghana finalizes plans for 155 MW solar park


Ghana is on course to develop the largest single utility-scale solar PV park in Africa after finalizing plans for a 155 MW PV plant at Asiamah in the Western Region of the country.

Mere Power Nzema Limited (MPNL), formed as a subsidiary of U.K.-based renewable energy consortium Mere Power UK and Blue Energy, will oversee the $350 million project, the company having first been set up in late 2012.

Plans for the 155 MW Nzema installation were triggered as a result of a 2011 ruling by the Ghanaian government to ramp up the country's renewable energy sector. Ghana's aim is to meet 10% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, with a FIT arrangement introduced to help encourage developers to take a chance on the emerging nation.

Initial plans for the plant were first revealed in December 2012, and construction work is scheduled to begin in September this year, with a power-generation date set for mid-2015.

"MPNL is an independent power producer, and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has reached an agreement with the organization to purchase the power to be generated for distribution and consumers," said MPNL director, Paul Fordjoe.

Land at the plant's proposed location in Asiamah has already been acquired, added Fordjoe, while MPNL's project director Douglas Coleman revealed further details about the Nzema plant.

According to Coleman, the installation will comprise 630,000 PV panels chosen to best handle the demands of Ghana's hot and dry climate. Once complete, the PV plant will be among the six largest single installations in the world, with construction and maintenance of the plant providing 200 permanent jobs.

Asiamah, in Ghana's Western Region, was chosen due to its close proximity to the deep water port of Takoradi and the solid local infrastructure, which is already well-connected to the grid. The majority of the components for the plant will be imported.

Ghana's solar footprint has grown in recent months following the agreement of a couple of big-ticket deals in the country. In November last year, Norway's Scatec Solar revealed plans to build a 50 MW solar plant in Ghana, while in December DCH-Solargiga signed an agreement to form a joint venture to build 200 MW of solar PV in the country.

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