In the midst of a power crisis and a commitment to grow its renewable energy industry, the connection of a 20 MW solar PV plant must be music to the ears of Ghanaian energy officials. The plant is the largest PV installation in Ghana and is a signal of intent for a country that is making great efforts to increase its reliance on clean energy.
The 20 MW project was developed by Chinese technology company firm Beijing Xiaocheng Company (BXC), a subsidiary of Beijing Fuxing Xiao-Cheng Electronic (FXXCE), who put up the US$30 million in funding itself. The plant is the first large-scale solar farm in Ghana, constructed on a 100-acre piece of land about 70km from the capital.
The 20 MW is connected to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) sub-station at the Winneba roundabout, said project consultant Daniel Azu. This plant took about six to eight months to complete and it is working well.
Before the BXC plant, the largest PV plant in the country was just 2 MW, so this marks a significant stride for increasing capacity. BXC even labels it a 40 MW project, so the company may be planning to double its capacity in the future. A future in which solar could potential play a big role, as the country is in desperate need of increased electricity capacity and has solar irradiation levels ranging between 4.5 to 6.0 kWh/m2/day.
The Ghanaian government has already shown a desire to build its renewable energy industry, culminating in a commitment of US$230 million last year to be earmarked for to the Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Investment Plan for Ghana. Part of this plan is to supply 30,000 Ghanaian homes with their own PV systems.
Solars role is expected to be pivotal in Ghanas clean energy transition. Earlier in April, Ghana’s first solar module manufacturing plant was opened in Kpone, with an annual production capacity of 30 MW, which can directly supply the Ghanaian market.