As solar PV becomes more accessible and affordable across the world, more nations are beginning to make inroads into the industry, and Ghana has become the latest country to do so, with its first module manufacturing plant. SPS $50 million solar manufacturing plant sits proud in Kpone, an industrial area near the port of Tema, just outside the capital city of Accra, where it is hoped that the modern factory will pave the way for an enhanced renewable energy market within the country.
Developed by SPS, a subsidiary of Ghanaian conglomerate Strategic Security System International (3SIL), with the consultancy of Italian solar PV firm Suntime, the plant has the capacity to produce 30 MW of solar modules a year, with a view to increasing that capacity in the coming years. It will produce a number of PV modules, including crystalline modules up to 72 cells, some of which will be building-integrated.
The production plant is capable of 30 MW a year, so quite small for todays PV global market, said Suntime consultant on the project Gerardo Capilupo, but definitely a good target for a new African company which will mainly focus on the West African market to start with.
Included in the plant is a 50 KW PV system that will power the companys office and supply some energy to the local grid, while a 100 KW system is due to be installed on the roof of the plant, using its own modules, which will eventually power the factory itself.
A renewable step in Ghana
The official opening of the factory was attended by a selection of important national political and community figures, including former President John Agyekum Kufuor, the Akyempimhene of Kumasi, Oheneba Adusei Poku, and Head Pastor of the International Central Gospel Church, Pastor Mensa Otabil. With such a rich array of attendees, the public interest in the project is clear, as is the potential of PV within the country.
SPS Chief Executive Office Oheneba Boateng spoke during the opening ceremony, and stressed the important of moving towards renewable energy, at a time when Ghanaians are still looking for alternative, stable and affordable energy solutions to complement what is produced by the national grid; and especially in our part of the world where we are fortunate to such resources in abundance, he said.
Others, including the Emperor of Ashani, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Chairman of SPS, Francis Akuamoah-Boateng, echoed these sentiments. In my eyes, success that does not impact my country and its citizens is no success at all, said Akuamoah-Boateng.
The company through its innovations has improved upon the lives of Ghanaians especially rural dwellers through the installation of over 20,000 solar street lights in the Northern Region and across the country, added Akuamoah-Boateng, who continued that clean energy could enable Ghanaians to take the future in their own hands.
Gerardo Capilupo confirmed that Suntime has another customer in Ghana that is building a PV project, and that he is cooperating with officials in the country to develop a PV policy and market within Ghana.