THE survival of 75 solar companies is at risk due to what they describe as unfair policies and regulations in the industry.
Already five of them have started preparations to relocate to Liberia and Sierra Leone, as solar business has become unprofitable in the country.
This situation jeopardizes the employment of more than 700 people.
Speaking in an interview with Graphic Business, the Secretary of the Ghana Solar Industries Association (AGSI), Mr. Agyenim Boateng, said the government continually uses regulations and policies to stifle energy growth. solar in the country.
He said it started with the moratorium on large-scale solar projects which prevented private companies from developing solar projects in the country.
He said this was followed by a directive stating that no private solar company should create mini-grids.
“It will now be a government-led activity. Currently, in the commercial and industrial sector; among factories, industries, big consumers of electricity, if you’re going to put solar there, the government has trouble with what’s wrong.
“There is also a directive which indirectly says that no license should be issued for people to do so and these policies and regulations have become an obstacle to the growth of the industry,” he said.
Mr. Agyenim Boateng was speaking to Graphic Business on the sidelines of a meeting between Jubaili Bros., Huawei and some engineering procurement companies (EPC).
The meeting aimed to discuss the issues affecting the solar industry in the country and the way forward.
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Suspension of licenses
The government suspended the issuance of new licenses for the supply of wholesale electricity and permits for solar photovoltaic (PV) and grid-connected wind power plants in 2017.
The Energy Commission (EC) provided two main reasons for the decision at the time.
The first was that the EC had issued around 124 provisional wholesale electricity supply authorizations for large-scale grid-connected renewable energy (RE) projects since the entry into force of the 2011 Energy Act. renewable (Law 832), of which only three have been developed, representing a development rate of about 2.5 percent.
Unfortunately, the EC notice did not provide further details on the over 97 percent of authorized projects that were not developed, implemented or at what stage of development those projects were.
The second reason for the suspension of issuance of new PPAs was related to the fact that the Ghana Electricity Company (ECG) had signed numerous PPAs, exceeding 2,000 MW, costing the country millions of cedis each. year.
Threat to employment
Mr. Agyenim Boateng said the guidelines affected the more than 75 companies registered with the association.
He said that so far five of their giants have left the market, with some moving to Liberia and Sierra Leone due to the situation.
He noted that if the situation persisted, then it threatened more than 700 jobs in the country.
“These guidelines came at a time when businesses were already reeling from the painful impact of COVID-19 and we are very concerned as an association,” he said.
He said that although the association has officially written to the Energy Ministry and the Energy Commission, it has yet to receive any response.
“For the Energy Commission, it has been barely a month since we wrote to them so we are still hoping for a response, but with the Ministry of Energy, it has been seven months and not even an acknowledgment of receipt of our letter. and it is worrying. , “he noted.
About the meeting
The meeting of the two companies aimed to dialogue and provide the necessary and up-to-date support to customers and end users on advanced solar products distributed by Jubaili Bros.
It allowed customers to ask questions about the latest photovoltaic products produced by Huawei and marketed by Jubaili Bros.
The forum was also an opportunity for CFEs to engage on industry trends and new directions in the solar energy sector.
Huawei chain manager Mr. Randy Oppong said it was important for the government to allow energy sources such as renewables to enter the national grid because power generation was become a challenge on the world stage.
He said Jubaili Bros is a value-added partner, which provides after-sales service to customers who frequent the photovoltaic products made by Huawei.
“From an ethical, moral and financial point of view, the use of solar makes sense. It has the least maintenance for most renewable energy systems and is below grid parity. For businesses that operate during sunny hours, 8 am to 5 pm, it makes no sense not to use solar power, ”he said.