Business News of 2014-06-30

US$117m solar plant for Northern Region

A 40 megawatt solar energy plant worth US$117million has been launched in Tamale to reduce the pressure on the national electricity grid in the Savannah ecological zone.

The project is to be implemented at Savlugu-Nantong by the DCH Solarigiga Company of Germany in collaboration with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), and is aimed at assisting farmers in deprived communities to access power for their farming activities -- which would attract more investors as well as boost agribusiness.

Alhaji Mohammed LimunaMuniru, Northern Regional Ministerlaunched the project at a stakeholder’s forum aimed at educating the public on the technicalities and economic benefits of the project, as well as to seeka possible solution.

He said the region has vastpotential in agriculture,which when supported with the necessary logistics will go a long way to help the farmers cultivate qualityproducts to meet international standards.

The Minister therefore called on the chiefs in the region to fast-track the land acquisition processes to facilitate easy access by investors.

This, he said, will make business vibrant in the region to engage more of the youth and create wealth for the people, thus reducing the unemployment and poverty rate confronting the region.

He saidprovision of the necessary logistics to the farming industry will help improve the agribusiness in the region.

“The availability of power and land for more intensive irrigated agricultural activities can also attract more of the youth into agriculture,” he said.

He urged the youth to take advantage of the project and get involved in the agribusiness to eradicate poverty in the region.

Major (retired) Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of State in-Charge of Development Authorities, said: “SADA had an interaction with DCH Energy of Germany in 2011, which concluded in the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in August 2012.

According to him, in the course of the communication, SADA secured a provisional licence for energy production from the Energy Commission, while a comprehensive feasibility study and business plan were undertaken for the project.

Dr. Ahmed said legal opinion was sought from the Attorney-General’s Department on both the shareholder and joint venture agreement to implement the project to help the farmers whose contribution is keen to the nation.

He assured the people that a lot of jobs would be created at the project site, adding that a commercial area has been proposed near the major road network to facilitate settlement of local technical and infrastructural supplies.

Dr. Zhang Gang, Chief Executive Officer, DCH Solargiga, said the use of solar energy in other countries is helping to revamp their economies which also encouraged his company to extend the support to help the farmers in the Northern Region since agriculture is the backbone of every economy.

He said the company has so far installed about 100 GW around the world and expressed the hope that solar power would get to every home in the country.

He said the project when completed could supply power to about thousands of homes in the region without necessarily depending on the current power in the country and also ensure cost effective for the vulnerable.

“As a player in the solar market, we are committed to invest and develop more solar projects to avoid any power interruption in the discharging of one’s duty to help the country.”