Government to pay home-made power producers

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solar panelBuying a solar panel is now the best investment a householder can make as the government is set to introduce a feed-in-tariff into the power sector following the passage of the renewable energy bill.

This will oblige electricity companies to pay people an amount yet to be determined for the power they produce at home from renewable energy sources such as solar or wind, and a further payment will be given for any electricity fed into the grid. The money will come from customers in the form of higher bills.

The move will spur the usage of renewable energy, especially solar PV roofs, at an enormous cost to the government.

A Deputy Minister of Energy, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, said approval of the bill by parliament will facilitate the intentions of government to achieve universal access to electricity by 2020 through the provision of cleaner, cheaper energy.

“Last week, parliament approved a renewable energy bill. This is one step in the right direction. Feed-in tariffs is a key feature of this legislation.

“It is very exciting because the law gives real incentive to the private sector to invest in renewable energy sources, and that means the legislation will open the way for individuals who can produce power from their backyard to get paid for using electricity in their own house,” he said.

So for homeowners who can afford the investment in solar panels, it would be unwise not to cash in on government’s largess.

The passage of the renewable energy bill, though it comes with the cost of introducing a feed-in-tariff, fits well into the government’s plan to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

“Ensuring universal access to modern, clean and reliable, renewable and affordable energy resources is a very important focus of the energy sector. This is where the world is going, and it’s nice for Ghana to join the global trend,” added Mr. Buah.

While the renewable energy law is seen in many circles as the right platform to develop solar energy, other analysts are wary of the cost-burden to the state… particularly drawing experience from other countries.

For instance, last week the government of Germany, which over the past decade has successfully boosted public usage of solar PV roofs through the implementation of feed-in-tariffs, decided to reduce sharply the tariff it pays for solar PV on the grounds that it is a waste of money.

And this is because the total contribution of renewable energy to the country’s electricity supply was 0.4 percent.

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