MDAs to be connected to solar energy

A solar rooftop Programme by the Energy Commission is to be expanded to cover non-residential facilities including ministries, departments and agencies across the country.

The Energy Minister, Mr Boakye Agyarko, announced this at the launch of a Solar PV System on a facility housing the offices of the German Development Cooperation (GTZ) in Accra last Friday.

The 16.64kWp system is one of the first grid-connected PV systems in Ghana with no battery backup under the net metering framework in the country.

According to Mr Agyarko, the rapid decline in prices of solar PV made it competitive for Ghanaians to integrate solar in the electricity distribution system at the end-user’s point.

Mr Agyarko said it was also possible to generate electricity from solar at less than GH¢0.60p per kilowatts, compared to what consumers were currently paying for electricity.

He said the ministry installed a 50 KWp solar PV rooftop system on its building since 1999 and this had been in operation generating an average of 156 kWh per day and thus contributing 13 to 18 per cent of electricity consumed.

That, he said, had resulted in savings of an average GH¢7,000 monthly or GH¢90,000 yearly.

Mr Agyarko expressed his gratitude to the German government for providing technical assistance to finalise the net metering code that prescribed guidelines for injecting excess generation from solar rooftops into the electricity distribution system for sale by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to customers.

“I am reliably informed that the ECG had a number of reversible meters for installation on such premises to reduce the net consumption of electricity by the end-user,” he said.

The minister also commended the German government for the exemplary role it had played in the development and promotion of renewable energy in Ghana; notable among them was the Euro 22.3 million concessional loan facility from the KfW Development Bank for the development of a 12MW Volta River Authority (VRA) solar project in the Upper West Region.

He also mentioned the support by the German government for the successful implementation of the Renewable Energy Act which the minister said was progressing steadily.

Mr Agyarko urged other development partners to emulate the example of the GTZ and integrate solar into their buildings to reduce their net consumption and make available excess power to support other productive ventures.

For his part, the Country Director of GIZ, Mr Alan Walsh, stated that the decision to procure the solar PV system was informed by the rising cost of grid electricity and fuel for backup generators, as well as GIZ and KfW’s desire to demonstrate that cost of solar PV is competitive in Ghana.

He also stated that GDC House had been able to save about GH¢14,000 from mid-October last year to February this year through the use of solar energy.

The German Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Christoph Retzlaff, stressed that his country was committed to further supporting Ghana’s endeavours in renewable energy and energy efficiency which would contribute to Ghana’s sustainable economic development.

He also said Germany was one of the leading countries that was transitioning from a fossil fuel-based economy to one based on renewable energy and that his country was ready to share lessons learnt during the transition.

“Ghana and Germany have been cooperating in the field of renewable energy for a couple of years. It includes the support for private households and companies to install solar panels on their rooftops which is connected to the ECG grid through the net-metering scheme,” he said.

Source: Graphic Online

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