Ghana solar energy plant set to be Africa’s largest..Election: John Mahama declared winner
A UK firm has announced plans to build what it claims is the biggest photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Africa.
The Nzema project, based in Ghana, will be able to provide electricity to more than 100,000 homes.
Construction work on the $400m (£248m) plant is due to start within 12 months.
The developers say that they are optimistic that finance for the project will be confirmed within six months.
The initiative is being developed by Blue Energy, a UK-based renewable energy investment company.
Dozens of solar projects have been announced across Africa in recent years but few have been on this ambitious scale says industry analyst Ash Sharma at IMS Research. He says the 155 megawatt plant will increase Ghana’s generating capacity by 6%.
“It is the biggest single project that’s going ahead at the moment,” he told BBC News. “It is not the biggest in the world, but if it goes ahead it will be the biggest in Africa.”
He says that a key element in helping the project go ahead has been Ghana’s renewable energy law under which the plant has been awarded a feed-in tariff for 20 years. These are premium prices, guaranteed for the working life of the site.
Project director Douglas Coleman, from Mere Power Nzema Ltd. who will build the plant, told BBC News that it was “fully cooked” in planning terms.
“The project has land, it has planning consent, it has a generating licence, and it has received a feed-in tariff,” he said, “it is the right plant in the right place at the right time.”
He was confident that the finance needed to build the plant could be raised in the next six months.
The company behind the scheme is majority owned and funded by members of the Stadium Group, a large European private asset and development company with £2.5bn under management.
Ash Sharma believes that the backing of this firm plus the feed-in tariff makes the idea viable.
“One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been overcome and the financing looks like it could be in a good position to succeed I would say.”
While concerns have been raised in recent weeks about the future of North Africa’sDesertec project that aims to export solar power to Europe, researchers are far more hopeful about the prospects for local African markets.
Demand for renewable energy has been held back in emerging economies like Ghana by high costs, but a recent glut of solar panels on world markets has seen prices tumble – much to the advantage of African countries.
“The reason the technology hasn’t taken off so far is that it has been too expensive,” says Ash Sharma, “but the costs of solar have decreased dramatically in the last two years, they’ve fallen by 40% plus, and this has really enabled it to be used in emerging regions in Africa and Asia.”
Installation of more than 630,000 solar PV modules will begin by the end of next year with electricity being generated early in 2014. It is due to reach full capacity at the end of 2015.
Ghana’s presidential election has been won by incumbent President John Mahama, the electoral commission has announced.
The electoral commission said that Mr Mahama had won 50.7% against his NPP rival Nana Akufo-Addo on 47.74%.
The announcement came hours after the opposition accused the governing party of conspiring with commission staff to fix Friday’s poll.
President Mahama urged “all leaders of all political parties to respect the voice of the people”.
“The voice of the people is the voice of God,” he added.
Police in the capital Accra fired tear gas to disperse opposition protesters from outside the commission’s offices.
Roads around the electoral offices were also barricaded by police as the results were announced.
“Ladies and gentlemen, based on the results given, I declare John Dramani Mahama president-elect,” electoral commission chief Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told journalists.
Ghana, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, is regarded as one of Africa’s most stable democracies.
Mr Akufo-Addo lost the 2008 presidential poll by one percentage point, but accepted the result.
yeah yeah blah blah..stadium group, try and find some information on these guys, its very difficult..i wonder who will wear this cost?..my guess is the UK taxpayer..solar panels are in over supply..got to offload them somewhere..anyone got any news on mahama?