The power sector was last Wednesday boosted, when players in the sector gathered to witness the launch of YINGLI/ NAMENE; a company whose vision is to make affordable and reliable solar power possible for communities and businesses in the West African Region.
The company, a joint-venture between, Yingli Solar and Namene International Limited, was incorporated in September 2015, to develop utility-scale and roof-top projects across the sub-region, is headquartered in Accra, Ghana.
Yingli Green Energy, is one of the world’s leading solar panel manufacturers, while Namene Energy International Limited, is a leading renewable energy solution developer focused on West Africa.
The Joint Venture, aims to develop a total of 100 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar projects and up to 50 MW of commercial rooftop projects in Ghana and it neighbouring countries.
Yingli Europe, will serve as the JV’s preferred solar panel supplier.
This comes at a time when the country is still recovering from the four-year erratic power supply, leading to loss of jobs and crippling economy.
Since the energy crises known in local parlance as ‘Dumsor”, industry players have argued that, it was time the government and the private sector, invested in renewable energy, because it is more reliable despite views that it is expensive compared to gas and hydro power.
Speaking at the launch, the Managing Director (MD) of Yingli/Namene, Winfried Owtscharenko, said his outfit has the experience and expertise to structure complex project financing solutions for solar projects.
According to Mr. Owtscharenko, his company is not only bringing the technology, but it would finance companies and individuals, who need their services.
He said, the choice of West Africa was because of the emerging market situation in the region, and also the choice of Ghana because of its central location, stable political environment and economic development, among other factors.
Outlining some of the advantages of solar power to customers, he said most of the energy used today, comes from fossil fuels, which are subject to price fluctuation, but in the case of solar power, same cannot be said about it.
He said, there was an unlimited source of energy, affordability, because the more solar energy a customer uses, the cheaper it becomes, thus saving the environment, lower price, no fuel, among others.
The Deputy Minister for Power, John Jinapor, said the Mahama government would continue to create the enabling environment for such companies to thrive as it is committed to support companies such as, YINGLI/NAMENE adding, there is a bill in parliament to promote this course.
Mr. Jinapor, said the power crisis have brought Ghanaians to the realization that their over reliance on hydro for power could not be sustained, and so the time has come for the government to diversify and encourage companies, such as YINGLI/NAMENE to venture into other forms of renewable energy to support the traditional ones.
“Solar is a key component of the power sector”, he reiterated.
Having experienced the benefits of solar power, Mr. Jinapor, said though the initial set up cost was expensive, the long term benefits is “great”.
He encouraged companies to buy into the idea of investing and patronizing solar energy to have reliable power at all time.
He enumerated some of the progress that has been chalked by the Mahama government with respect to its investment in renewable energy for schools, streetlight, clinics etc.
Chief Executive of Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO), William Amuna, gave his full backing to YINGLI/NAMENE and assured them of his availability and assistance anytime the company calls on him for help.
“We are very ready for you anytime you want to get unto the grid” let us know so the necessary arrangement, will be made”, he assured.
The chairman of the occasion, the Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin II, regretted how Africa with all it resources, is still the poorest in the world.
He noted this is, because the continent was not taking advantage of the many resources it was endowed with.
He said, already science and technology was helping to make the world develop at a fast rate and so it was time Africans accepted change and came to the realization that, things can’t remain unchanged.
“We need to believe in change. We need to prepare, because there will be a time we may run out”, the Okyehene said.
According to him, Africa is not only lacking behind in the energy sector, but agriculture, and others. He noted, “having solar [energy] is good, but it must be accessible and cheap”.