British firm to build 'Africa's biggest solar plant'

Dec 04, 2012
Patrial view of the Miravalles Solar Power Plant in Miravalles, 220 km north of San Jose, taken on November 22.British renewable energy firm Blue Energy announced Tuesday that it will build a giant solar power plant in Ghana which it claimed will become the biggest in Africa.

British renewable energy firm Blue Energy announced Tuesday that it will build a giant solar power plant in Ghana which it claimed will become the biggest in Africa.

"Blue Energy is to build Africa's largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant", the company said in a statement, in a move "which could spark a renewable in west Africa".

The 155-megawatt Nzema plant, costing $400 million (305 million euros) to build, will be fully operational in 2015. Blue Energy said there were currently only three other PV plants in the world that are bigger.

The plant will increase Ghana's current power generating capacity by six percent and will meet 20 percent of the government's of generating 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

"There's huge potential to develop renewable power in the region. We believe Nzema will show other countries what can be achieved and then spur them to action," said Blue Energy chief executive Chris Dean.

, which is majority owned and funded by members of the Stadium Group, a private asset and development company, said it had secured all the permissions it required to go ahead with the project.

The firm said it planned to develop further renewable energy power plants in west Africa and had "a number of projects in the pipeline".

The announcement comes after two German firms, Bosch and Siemens, said they were quitting the ambitious Desertec project to build solar power plants across North Africa and the Middle East, dealing a blow to Europe's clean energy plans.

Desertec aimed to generate some 15 percent of Europe's with solar and wind energy within the next 40 years.

The project was launched in 2009 by several German companies including Munich Re, Deutsche Bank, as well as energy giants E.ON and RWE.

French, Italian and Spanish companies also took stakes in an initial investment of 400 billion euros ($525 billion).

Morocco is building a solar complex set to open in 2014 and will generate between 125 and 160 megawatts.

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VendicarD
1 / 5 (2) Dec 04, 2012
$2.58 per watt installed.

Nuclear $9.00 per watt installed.
DavidW
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2012
According to my quick math that is about $37.00US per square foot.

That would be about 1/2 the cost these were about 3 years ago. I have heard drops of 10% to 15% in prices recently, but that is it and it's still not even close.

I really don't think they can build it at this amount without other subsidies. Actual information is sparse on a quick search.

From my calcs, the cost needs to be about $2.50US per square foot at an average of 15% efficiency for us to be able to build all we need. These are very expensive up front over fossil fuels. I hope the people of Ghana can afford to pay that much more right now. I doubt it. It sounds like another Solyndra is cooking. People think solar, great, let me invest, oh, I didn't realize how expensive this really is.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2012
$2.58 per watt installed.


Capacity factor?

Photovoltaic capacity factors cannot even theoretically exceed 50% even at the equator because out of every 24 hours, 12 hours is night, so you always need to at least double the figure for PV to get the real cost per average watt.

Lurker2358
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 04, 2012
Capacity factor?

Photovoltaic capacity factors cannot even theoretically exceed 50% even at the equator because out of every 24 hours, 12 hours is night, so you always need to at least double the figure for PV to get the real cost per average watt.


If you make power with solar for most of the day every day, you are decreasing pollution and increasing long term sustainability. This is worth it.

It's a bad idea to be overly idealistic about anything.
DavidW
3 / 5 (2) Dec 05, 2012
http://edition.my...8294.php

The goal must be to do the most good. Anything less is an excuse to do wrong.
Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Dec 05, 2012
This is worth it.


The point is, that if you're making a comparison between two sources of power, one that cost $2.50/Watt and is available 20% of the time, and another that costs $9/Watt and is available 80% of the time, which one produces electricity cheaper?

Of course the market size in Ghana isn't big enough for a nuclear reactor to make economic sense, but this is about the principle.

So many people simply lie about the potential of photovoltaics by these simple omissions.

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Dec 09, 2012
The comparison isn't apt. Ghana can't compete with other countries when it comes to buying energy sources on the world market (especially when the prices will inveitably rise due to declining sources and/or increased demand). It also has no economic/military strong-arming potential to force access to energy sources.

Transforming to a source of energy that they have themselves is only prudent.

one that cost $2.50/Watt and is available 20% of the time, and another that costs $9/Watt and is available 80%

Usage of eneryg isn't the same 24 hours a day. The overwhelming part is used during the day.
The advantage of nuclear to produce power at night isn't as great as it's made out to be (actually it's much less so since nuclear power can't be regulated that well - which means if you go all nuclear you'r dumping a lot of power unused at night)