The country has for so long been relying heavily on hydro electric power for both industrial and commercial use. In fact, the Akosombo Dam—with installed capacity of 1,020 megawatts—has been the main source of power for the country since the 1960s.
But as the population grows and the economy expands, the dam is no longer able to supply the nation with the needed power, propelling successive governments to take knee-jerk measures to supplement the power deficit.
The country currently needs close to 3000MW of power and requires an investment of US$200million annually.
It must be recalled that in 2015 the entire country was plunged into darkness, as it had to manage on load shedding owing to shortage of power.
As a result, numerous calls have been made by energy experts and industry players for the country to consider renewable energy as the best and most sustainable source of power for the country.
One source of renewable energy that has long been suggested is solar energy from the sun. The country ideally has about 365 days of sunshine, making it more than suitable for solar energy to be the main source of power.
It is against this background that a renewable energy expert at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Dr. Francis Boateng Agyenim, has called on government to implement the feed-in tariff regime set out in the Renewable Energy Act 2011 that encourages companies to use solar energy to reduce the burden on the national grid.
Under a feed-in tariff regime, eligible renewable electricity generators including homeowners, business owners, farmers and private investors are paid a cost-based price for the renewable electricity they supply to the grid.
“The Renewable Energy Law makes room for what we call feed-in tariff that has not been implemented in Ghana. So, if this is implemented it has a consequence on the cost and also the upkeep of solar,” Dr. Boateng Agyenim said at a stakeholder meeting on solar energy in Accra.
“The government can’t do much; we have relied too much on government and it can’t do much. The only thing that the government can do is to create the enabling environment in terms of feed-in tariff’s implementation and making sure that is much more education for understanding the solar concept,” he said.
It is estimated that for a country using under 2,000 megawatts of electricity, Ghana ought to be currently bringing on-stream 200 megawatts of new capacity every year. This additional capacity requires US$200million of annual investment.