Ghana will soon access part of a US$2billion Renewable Energy Credit Facility from the Indian government, following Parliament’s ratification of the country’s membership in the International Solar Alliance (ISA), spearheaded by India.
The Government of India, through its External Affairs Ministry, has set aside the US$2billion for solar projects in Africa out of its US$10billion concessional Line of Credit for the continent.
The ISA was launched on November 30, 2015, as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries at the Conference of Parties (CoP) 21 at the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris.
The Paris Declaration establishing ISA calls it an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.
Headquartered in India, ISA’s major objective is the deployment of over 1000GW of solar energy and mobilisation funds for investment into solar energy.
A report of parliament’s Select Committee on Mines and Energy indicates that Ghana accepted joining the ISA to enable government leverage on the opportunities it offers to accelerate the country’s quest of increasing its renewable energy mix, including solar, from the current 1% to ten percent (10%) by 2030.
Aside from the credit facility, membership of the alliance provides opportunities for technology transfer, high quality training and research from the India Centre of Excellence in Renewable Energy, and access to equipment for demonstration projects at no cost.
Minister for Energy Boakye Agyarko told Parliament that, beginning next year, some government institutions, including the Flagstaff House, Parliament House, Junior and Senior High Schools, will have their power component converted to solar to ease pressure on the national grid.
The minister said it makes a lot of sense for solar energy to be incorporated into building projects, in order to utilise the country’s solar and produce the necessary demonstration effect for the rest of the country.
“So, the Ministry of Energy building, Parliament House of Ghana and Flagstaff House must all go solar to send the right signals to the rest of the nation, that the government is behind it and that is the proper thing to do.”
Explaining the rationale behind Ghana signing up with ISA to the B&FT, Boakye Agyarko said: “It puts us in good stead to be attractive to foreign investors and other investors who want to put their monies in solar, and it also allows us to have creative platforms in terms of research and technology to make sure we come across best international practices in the implementation of our solar energy programme.”
The International Solar Alliance(ISA) is a treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation of countries located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to address their special energy needs through efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.