President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned a 6.5 Mega Watt (MW) solar power plant at Lawra in the Upper West Region to provide electricity to about 50,000 households through the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).

The President on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, cut sod for the construction of a combined 17MW solar power projects at Nadowli in the Nadowli-Kaleo District and Lawra in the Lawra Municipality as part of the government’s effort to ensure that the region had its fair share of energy generation.

President Akufo-Addo at the commission ceremony held in Lawra, noted that he was happy the two projects would now deliver a combined power supply of about 20MW at no additional cost due to competent technical inputs.

He said the project was funded through a loan facility of 22.2 million Euros between the Government of Germany represented by KfW and the Government of Ghana, which contributed 8.12 million Euros through the Volta River Authority (VRA).

The President commended the project contractor, Elecnor S. A. from Spain, the consultant, Tractebel Engineering and VRA for delivering the project in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the project confirmed the commitment of his government to diversify the country’s energy generation portfolio and also increase the renewable energy component of the country’s energy mix.

“This project among many other initiatives taken by the government will significantly contribute to the global efforts to minimise the effects of climate change, which continued to be one of the major threats facing our generation”, he said.

The President said the technical and cost environment now made it possible for them to encourage as a matter of policy, the large scale development of solar plants in Ghana, adding that the government was fully supportive of the efforts of VRA and others to expand renewable energy projects.

He said the combined output of the two projects was sufficient to meet a significant portion of the electricity consumption in the region, adding, he was confident that the projects would support local small and medium scale enterprises as well as other socio-economic activities of the people.

Mr John-Peter Amewu, the Minister for Energy noted that the Government’s Renewable Energy Master Plan had the key objective of increasing utility-scale solar generation from 42.5MW in 2019, to 130MW in 2020 and 195MW in 2025.

He said to meet Ghana’s commitments under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change; the Government would continue to promote the implementation of grid connected and off-grid renewable energy technologies in the country.

“Our intended Nationally Determined Contributions goal, under the Paris Agreement, is to increase the penetration of the total supply of renewable energy by 10 percent by 2030”, the Energy Minister said.

“The committed actions include; increasing installed capacity of small to medium scale hydropower by 150-300MW and utility-scale solar by 150-250MW by 2030”, he said.

Mr Amewu noted that investments in the power sector were meaningful as they provided support to local economies and provided decent sources of livelihood.

“The Ministry of Energy will continue to encourage and support grid connected solar projects in Northern Ghana to take advantage of the good solar potential, with solar irradiation levels ranging from 4-6kWh/m2 per day and sunshine duration of 1,800hrs to 3,000hrs per annum”, he said.

The Energy Minister said they expected that Ghana would soon become the renewable energy hub in the sub-region.

Mr Christoph Retzlaff, the German Ambassador to Ghana noted that the solar power plant could be considered a role model as it did not only proved the great potential of renewable energy projects in Ghana but also the commitment of the Ghanaian Government and the VRA to increase the overall share of renewables in the energy mix. “I am convinced that this project paved the way for more projects to come”, he said.

Naa Puowele Karbo III, the Paramount Chief of the Lawra Traditional Area, described the process of consultation with traditional authorities prior to the start of the project as very thorough and commendable, adding it ensured the factoring in of all concerns of his people.