Ghana’s Solar PV Farm to Be the Largest in Africa Yet
It has been long known fact that Africa is one of the best areas for harvesting solar energy. We’ve heard of solar farms built in the Sahara by different countries for example. The potential for solar power in what would otherwise be inhabitable areas in the continent’s arid areas is often advocated by many renewable energy groups around the world.
Now Ghana may not particularly be arid, but it is an African country, and one that is prominently known for their highly extensive use of hydropower. However, this country currently also has other renewable energy projects. In fact, in the next couple of years, Ghana may have the largest PV solar farm ever (that would be used by a single country) with their newest renewable energy project.
The Nzema project is a solar energy farm project that is being headed and developed by Blue Energy, a UK-based renewable energy firm. The news of a new solar farm being built in Africa may no longer be surprising, but this one is a largely different from all other previous projects, and we mean literally. Most current PV solar farms in Africa are simply small-scale remote energy facilities, and even the largest grid-connected facility in the continent only has a peak energy output of 250 kilowatts. The Nzema project however, when completed, will stand at 155 megawatts, making it the largest solar energy facility that would power a single African nation.
Currently the Nzema project still waits for proper funding, but it is predicted that the project will be securely financed in about six months after the announcement. After acquiring the needed $400m, actual construction of the facility would come around six more months after that. As the project starts, approximately 630,000 solar PV panels will be installed by the end of 2013, and it would start providing power the next year after that in early 2014. It is estimated the entire project will be completed by the end of 2015.
According to the report, one of the most pivotal reasons why the project had progressively moved forward is the current establishment of Ghana’s renewable energy laws. However, a good bulk of the reason also lies in the relative steady rich “supply” of sunlight in Ghana. Another bonus that helped forge the feasibility of the project was the current steady decline of solar PV panel prices.
Finally, as for why the project hadn’t considered the use of concentrating solar power (CSP), it was explained the Ghana had a solar environment that better favored PV installations. It has been said that the added calculability and predictability of a PV system (in that area) could enable them to better harmonize or balance energy load and generation for the entire grid.
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