The International Solar Community will gather in Accra on April 21-22 at the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa Conference to explore the huge on and off-grid market opportunities in the region.
The conference aims to accelerate the deployment of solar in West Africa, and break down the barriers to development - financial, political, technological - by bringing together key stakeholders, including investors, policy makers, developers, energy companies, financiers, NGOs, manufacturers and suppliers.
The Ghanaian Minister for Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor, joins the elite panel of expert speakers presenting at the conference. Local and international organisations attending the event also include The Ministry of Energy of Ghana, The International Finance Corporation, The International Renewable Energy Agency, Trina Solar, S&C Electric, ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, First Solar, The World Energy Council, The African Renewable Energy Alliance and The African Development Bank Group. Attendees at the conference can select streams covering large small- and pico-scale solar projects.
West Africa has numerous solar projects in the pipeline and many government incentives to encourage solar in their energy mix, making the region a serious opportunity for solar development. With the various projects and initiatives recently launched, the future of the West African solar market looks bright.
“The potential for solar energy in West Africa is significant,” says Mahama Kappiah, executive director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). “There are opportunities to adopt small-scale, large-scale, grid and off-grid solar power systems considering the region’s solar resources. In addition, electricity demand is on the increase as income and socio-economic conditions improve across the region. Solar energy can diversify the current energy mix and help to meet this demand.”
The International Energy Agency predicts a significant rise in African solar projects for residential and commercial uses, and the World Energy Outlook 2014 states that by 2040 renewable energy is expected to account for 45% of power generation capacity across the continent.
The World Bank Group announced the launch of its Scaling Solar project in January. This project aims to increase the supply of energy for millions of residential and commercial consumers across the continent.
A significant initiative to be discussed at the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables West Africa Conference is the The Access Co-Development Fund recently launched by Access Infra Africa. The Access Co-Development Fund has a target of deploying 5m USD to co-develop up to 5 power projects. Karim Megherbi from Access Energy will attend and the conference and discuss this new project.
Energy users are invited free of charge at the conference if they are power buyers from Mining companies, Telecoms companies, Cement companies, Manufacturing and heavy industrial, Shopping malls, Food processing plants, Farms, Airports, Schools and Universities and Hospitals.