Clean Power

Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Ghana To House Largest Solar Power Plant In Africa

December 6th, 2012 by  

155 MW is big. That’s a huge power plant. And that’s the size of the power plant planned for construction in Ghana. It will be the largest solar power plant in Africa when completed, which should be in October 2015. It will also be one of the largest in the world.

Conceptual rendering of 155MW Nzema solar power plant in Ghana.

The UK’s Blue Energy is the company behind this behemoth of a solar power plant. It has projected that the project will create hundreds of jobs in Ghana (200 permanent jobs and 500 jobs at the height of construction). Additionally, it should boost Ghana’s electricity capacity by 6%.

A Blue Energy solar power plant near Swindon (UK), which may become the first community-owned solar farm in the UK. (Photo Credit: adrian arbib / Alamy/Alamy)

“Construction on the Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by the end of 2013, with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules,” the UK’s Guardian writes.

“The power plant, which at the time of planning would be the fourth biggest of its kind in the world, will be the first major scheme to claim payments from Ghana’s feed-in tariff incentive scheme, created by the government in 2011. Ghana has a target of increasing renewable energy capacity from its current 1% of the country’s energy mix to 10% by 2020.”

“Ghana’s forward-thinking strategy puts it in a strong position to lead the renewable energy revolution in sub-Saharan Africa,” Chris Dean, chief executive of Blue Energy, said. “Nzema is a case study in how governments can unlock the huge potential for solar energy in Africa. We are delighted that it will make a strong contribution to the national economy, provide much needed generating capacity and help develop the skills of the future.”

It’s good to see that the African leader is turning to renewable energy already. As I’ve noted many times, solar is a clear leapfrogging technology that will allow developing countries to bypass dirty energy options such as coal and natural gas. Notably, the average CO2 emissions of a Ghanian is only 0.4 tonnes at the moment, compared to 8.5 tonnes for the average Brit and 17.2 tonnes for the average American (based on 2009 figures).

Blue Energy created subsidiary Mere Power Nzema Ltd. to complete the project. Development of the project began back in 2010. The company has not yet determined the source of the solar modules, but intends to have a competitive process for determining that in the coming months. “The project is currently expecting to use a single supplier,” Mere Power Nzema project director Douglas Coleman says.

Coleman adds: “The location was chosen for three reasons. One is stable irradiation levels, which are very good in the region generally. The stability of the network which is adjacent to the project, 30 meters away, with sufficient capacity available in the network to allow us to inject the load. And finally close proximity to the deep water port of Takoradi, in the west of Ghana, given that the majority of components will be imported, because there is very little domestic manufacture or the components that we’ll need.”

Reposted with permission from Solar Love.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Bill_Woods

    “It has projected that the [155-MW] project will create hundreds of jobs in Ghana (200 permanent jobs …”

    Less than 1 MW per worker? Presumably Ghanians are a lot cheaper than American workers, but what on earth are all these people doing?

  • Joe Green Valdez

    Hope you are well. Do you have any interest in back-up batteries for solar farms? Or batteries that need to be designed for specific use? My batteries are non-hazardous and last 20 years.


    Joe Valdez

  • anderlan

    I think Ghana just recently found sizable oil and gas in their coastal waters. The leaders did an about face on support of global warming policy. But with developments like these, I have hope they have a lot of environmentalists (people who see fossils as a bubble) still in their government.

    • Yaro

      Even though I have doubts on the severity of global warming, I don’t recall drilling for gas and oil being the big problem, but rather using fossil fuels for transport and electricity, with coal being the biggest contributors.

      Cheap and cheaper solar is paramount to decrease CO2 emissiens, not closing down drills.

      • Bob_Wallace

        I don’t think we have a chance in hell of curtailing climate change by trying to clamp down on oil production and use.

        The only route I can see is via efficiency and substitution. The new CAFE standards will help tremendously with efficiency. They should slow usage while we (hopefully) double EV range and bring prices down to acceptable.

        Consider more carefully the severity of global warming. Once the permafrost starts significantly melting things are going to get far worse, far faster. Boil some methane from the slush hanging around on the sea floor and things get cranked up even higher.

        It’s not just what we are doing, it’s also what we are in danger of kicking into gear.

        Don’t want to build your bonfire too close to the shed where the dynamite is stored….

      • anderlan

        Given that the amount of hydrocarbons going into non-fuel feedstocks is a single digit percentage of the total including that which is burned as fuel, decreasing carbon emissions IS THE SAME AS SHUTTING DOWN THE MAJORITY OF DRILLS. Sorry. As I said, it’s a bubble. Or we are a suicidal civilization. Collapse the carbon bubble or collapse the global civilization bubble.

Back to Top ↑