The government of Ghana has reaffirmed its commitment to renewable energy and sustainable development goal seven (SDG7) with Bui Power Authority (BPA) planning to construct eight solar plants in the northern part of the country.
According to BPA, the earmarked sites for the project expected to begin in the first quarter of next year include, Yendi, Northern, Buipe and Sawla, Savannah, Zebilla, and Bolgatanga, Upper East and Tumu, Upper West.
These spots are close to substations of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in the northern part of the country, where the potential solar plants capacity is between 10MWp to 100MWp. This could successfully be tied into the National Interconnected Transmission System (NITS).
The BPA Chief Executive Officer, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, disclosed the figures when he outlined efforts to increase the country’s renewable power generation in an exclusive interview with the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Party (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland.
“We’ve gone far with plans and it is even possible that by next year January-February, we should be having some people who will be coming in to start the plants. We are poised for this,” he said.
The capacity of each plant, according to Dzamesi, was dependent on the size and specifications of investors who have been engaged under an arrangement in which they would fund the construction and be paid later for the state to own the plants.
He said BPA had struck a collaboration with universities, including the University of Renewable Energy in Sunyani in the Bono Region, so that new graduates would be involved in various projects.
“Technology is changing. The first panel for solar was very big; today it is smaller and every day gets smaller. It means people are doing research to ensure that we get smaller panels with the same capacity. We have to be training young ones to build capacity in that area,” Dzamesi said.
He also reaffirmed BPA’s commitment to supporting the development of renewable energy in the West African country. He pointed to Ghana’s dedication to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change with the signing of the BPA Amendment Act 2020 (Act 1046) into law which positions the BPA to contribute significantly to increasing renewable energy in Ghana. The law empowers Bui Power Authority to develop renewable energy and other clean energy alternatives in the country.
Currently BPA’s renewable energy projects include a 404MW Hydroelectric Power Plant, a 250MWp land-based solar, 1MWp of 5MWp Floating solar, 45kW Tsatsadu Micro Hydro plant. BPA’s future prospects also include developing the western rivers of Ghana and increasing their floating solar generation capacity.
“If we want to do real energy, every location in Ghana where there is GRIDCo substation, there is the possibility of putting a solar plant. This is our target. Also, for all rivers in the country where we can generate power, we should be able to target them.”
“BPA should be running not less than 700MWp of solar by 2024,” Dzamesi said.