Ghana sets sights on floating solar power plants

Volta River Authority, with the support of the German development bank KfW, has appointed Norway-based engineering consultancy Multiconsult to assess the potential for installing a floating solar power plant in Ghana.

Illustration/Floating solar power plant (Courtesy of Multiconsult)
Illustration/Floating solar power plant (Courtesy of Multiconsult)

Multiconsult said it will conduct a feasibility study and environmental impact assessment for floating solar power plants on Lake Volta – the world’s largest man-made lake, and Kpong hydropower reservoir in Ghana.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are steadily becoming an important part of Ghana’s energy mix.

However, as grid-connected solar PV facilities tend to be land-intensive, the Government of Ghana wants to explore opportunities for installing floating PV on the existing hydropower reservoirs.

Floating PV technology is considered more environmentally friendly and socially acceptable than land-based solar PV.

Multiconsult will conduct a technical, environmental, and social impact assessment to help identify the best location of the project and to ensure that it can be implemented in a sustainable manner, the consultancy said.

Vegard Willumsen, vice president of energy systems in Multiconsult, said: “Multiconsult has pursued floating solar PV as a strategic priority for several years and this assignment confirms that we are at the forefront of this industry.”

The assignment will be led by Syed Ali, senior advisor in Multiconsult. Ali will manage a team of solar PV specialists, hydropower experts, electrical engineers, economists, and environmental experts who will be tasked with designing a pilot PV facility that can be commissioned in the shortest possible time, according to Multicosult.

The consultancy added it will also develop a concept for future extension up to 50MW or more.

With its extensive specialist expertise in hydropower and renewable energy development, Multiconsult has worked in the energy sector in Africa for more than 40 years, as well as positioned itself as one of global market leaders in floating solar PV and hybridization of hydropower with other variable renewables.

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