African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) says Ghanaians should seriously consider solar power as an alternative source of energy in the wake of a prolonged energy crisis.
ACEP Deputy Director Ben Boakye told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Tuesday, an important barrier to solar power, which is cost, has reduced significantly enough for consumers to consider it as an alternative.
Ghana has sufficient installed power capacity of 3,644MW to meet the highest demand of 2,118MW. In practice, therefore, there should be no load shedding. But power plants need either gas or Light Crude Oil to produce electricity. Hence beyond installed capacity, the government has to cough up cash to buy fuel.
Dumsor is not a function of installed capacity. Dumsor is a function of your ability to obtain sufficient feed or crude, or gas to power the plants” Energy minister Boakye Agarko pointed out during his inspection.
The government required at least US$1.18 billion to acquire fuel alone for 2016, the Energy Commission has said. And there is the ‘gargantuan’ outstanding debt described as ‘legacy debts’ to settle. It is estimated at $2billion.
The energy crisis dominated much of President John Mahama’s tenure, slumped the economy to growth rates under 3.9% in 2016 and is believed to have cost the NDC government the 2016 elections.
Following erratic power supply over the past four weeks, consumers have expressed misgivings about whether the crisis tolerated since 2012 has resurfaced.
Four years after the crisis embedded in the power system recurred, the NDC government has had to sink more than $640million into two power purchase deals to alleviate the
situation. It led to increasing cost of utilities by more than 50% in 2015 alone.
The push to solar power should be aggressive, Ben Boakye urged government. In February 2015, President John Mahama announced plans to help install 200,000 rooftop solar systems.
It was to be funded by increasing the Energy Fund Levy on Petroleum Products from Gp0.05 to Gp1.0. It is predictable to save the country about 200 megawatts of power daily.