Ghana gives a big boost to rooftop solar projects

African country Ghana is giving a big boost to renewable power with the government initiating a ''capital Subsidy Scheme'' for installation of solar panels on rooftop of residential homes across the country.

The country expects to increase solar energy penetration in the country by adding some 20,000 rooftop solar systems under the scheme, according to the country's Energy Commission, which is spearheading the project.

The government will give selected applicants a maximum of 500 watt peak solar panels free of charge, while they will pay for the remainder depending on what their total need is.

To be selected, the participant should have already acquired and installed what is known as balance of systems, which include battery, inverter and charge controller.

Chairman of the commission's board, Dr Kwame Ampofo, told journalists at the launch of a promotional programme that several banks and other financial institutions have come on board to offer credit facilities to beneficiaries who may need further financial support to procure the balance of systems.

The commission, he said, has so far received 470 applications, with 397 of them coming from the Greater Accra Region and the rest spread across the country.

''It is worth noting that various promotional activities have been rolled out to whip up public interest in the programme and for everybody in the country to take advantage of it. One of such activities is a draw which will be conducted by the National Lottery Authority in all the 10 regions on different dates,'' he said.

The government is targeting an initial total of 200,000 households for the rooftop project depending on availability of funds, and the hope is that it will help whip up the interest of the public in going solar on their own.

The roof-top solar mission marks a shift from government's initial focus on grid-connected solar, which needed greater investment and land area.

With government support, the solar rooftop projects will help Ghanians generate 20 to 30 per cent of their power needs and thereby reducing pressure on the national grid.