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British firm to build Africa’s largest solar power plant

British renewable energy firm Blue Energy will build the largest solar photovoltaic facility on the African continent.

To be located in Ghana, the 155-megawatt Nzema plant will become one of the biggest in the world – only three solar PV plants in operation today are bigger, according to the company.

It will help Ghana raise its current generating capacity by 6 percent and meet 20 percent of the government’s goal of producing 10 percent of electricity from renewables by 2020.

Its construction is planned for 2013 and the installation is expected to be fully operational by mid-2015. The power it will generate will reportedly offset 5.5 million tons of carbon emissions annually.

According to Blue energy, the $400 million power facility seeks to ignite renewable energy revolution in West Africa, and contribute to economic growth.

An estimated 500 jobs are expected to be created during the course of the facility’s construction, while 200 permanent jobs will be available when it starts operations. It will also give way for another 2,100 jobs in the local economy and deliver $100 million worth of tax to Ghana’s government over its lifetime.

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

“[I]t is a success for the government’s policy of attracting international finance,” noted Blue Energy. Last month, energy minister Joe Oteng-Adjei addressed the need for $1 billion private investment to help Ghana in achieving it renewable energy target.

The project will be the first in the pipeline under Ghana’s renewable energy act of 2011, which implements a feed-in tariff system. – EcoSeed Staff

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