Ghana to house Africa's largest utility scale solar power plant

Mere Power Nzema Limited (MPNL) is in the process of building Africa's largest utility scale solar photovoltaic plant in Ghana. Upon completion, the Nzema solar park installation will contain about 630,000 photovoltaic panels, making it the sixth largest in the world.

MPNL, a subsidiary of consortium Mere Power UK and Blue Energy will begin construction of the 155 megawatt solar park in September, which is aimed to begin operation in 2015. The project has already secured Government consent to begin and been awarded a generation license and a feed-in tariff for the plant’s 20-year operational life.

Plans for the $400 million plant were first unveiled in December 2012 as part of Ghana's initiative to expand its renewable energy industry. Ghana aims to produce 10 percent of its energy needs from sustainable sources by 2020.

 “Ghana’s forward-thinking strategy puts it in a strong position to lead the renewable energy revolution in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Chris Dean, CEO of Blue Energy. “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.”

The plant will be directly connected to the 161 kV West African Power Pool power transmission line, which runs alongside the site, linking Ghana to Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.

Progress on the project also comes in the wake of a 2013 World Bank report urging the government of Ghana to boost its power sector as it was falling short of meeting rapidly growing energy demands. According to Blue Energy, Ghana is one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, with demand for power growing at 10-15 percent a year.

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