Apr 05, 2012 at 9:09am
West Africa Solar Forum and Exhibition opens
Ghana is exploring ways to achieve energy peace of mind in the face of power cuts and their consequent inconvenience to consumers.
To this end, government has developed a national strategy to increase the use of renewable energy, particularly solar by ten percent by 2020.
Deputy Minister of Energy, Alhaji Innusah Fuseini says though the use of renewable energy is not the solution to the eratic electricity supply, it is an alternative measure to reduce the load and complement hydro and thermal power.
He was speaking at the launch of the first ever Solar Exhibition in Accra.
He said the vision included achieving at least 10 per cent contribution of modern renewable energy services in the electricity generation mix by 2020.
Alhaji Fuseini said the Ministry was supporting the Energy Commission to undertake a more detailed wind resource assessment of potential sites along the coast for the development of wind parks for power generation.
He announced that Volta River Authority was setting the pace to install the first two megawatts solar park for integration into the national electricity grid by 2015, and called on investors to come on board to invest in that sector.
In addition, the Ministry is collaborating with the World Bank under the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project to provide loans with grant facility through rural banks to supply rural homes in remote off-grid communities with solar systems.
Alhaji Fuseini said about 2,700 households in 11 districts had so far been supplied with solar systems over the past two years.
“As an indication of government’s commitment to renewable energy; the Ministry has upgraded the Renewable Energy Unit at the Ministry to a Directorate similar to the Petroleum and Power Directorates.
“This new Directorate will formulate, plan and monitor policies and strategies for the promotion of all forms of renewable energy resources in the country, to achieve the intended 10 per cent contribution of modern renewable energy services in the electricity generation mix by 2020,” he said.
Alhaji Fuseini said a renewable Energy Bill had been passed by Parliament to provide the regulatory framework and fiscal incentive to attract private sector investment in the renewable energy sector.
He said advantages of solar power and solar products could be many, but they all followed the same basic business or investment model of high upfront cost with payback over time.
“Everything, from large solar panels to simple solar pond pumps has a break-even point, where the device begins to pay for itself.
This is probably the biggest advantage of solar energy products – they are one of the few consumer products that actually pay for themselves if built reliably enough,” Alhaji Fuseini said.
He said though there were many advantages of solar power, there would be many scammers trying to take advantage of ignorance of the public and commended the organisers of the event for their foresight.
It is being attended by architects, property developers, utility companies, regulatory authorities, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, investors and financial institutions, installers and distributors, manufacturers, contractors and non-governmental organizations to collaborate in the development of West Africa’s solar industry.
The two-day forum and exhibition is on the theme: “The Brighter Way Forward”