Norwegian-Ghanian solar investment shows the way for a greener industry in Ghana

Miniplast solar rooftop, Ghana - Photo by Stella Futura

One of the recurring themes at the recent COP26 climate summit held in Glasgow in November, was the need to accelerate solar projects in Africa and other developing countries. In Ghana, one of the first commercial & industry (C&I) solar projects backed by Norwegian impact investors demonstrates the benefits of going solar to local businesses.

The Accra-based company Miniplast Limited, a leading plastics manufacturing and recycling company of industrial and household products in Ghana with over 25 years of experience in the sector, is this week marking its first year of operation of its 782 KWp rooftop solar plant. The solar plant is built in partnership with the Swedish-Ghanian engineering company Stella Futura and Empower New Energy, an impact investment company based in Norway.

The power plant, which is the second largest of its kind in Ghana , was developed and installed in a record four months during the Covid crisis. The solar plant is expected to operate for at least 20 years, according to the power purchase agreement (PPA) signed between the off-taker, Miniplast and the investor, Empower New Energy, without any up-front capital requirement from the offtaker. As the project marks one year of commercial operations this week, Miniplast has cut its CO2 emissions by 563 tonnes and reduced its electricity costs by USD 28,500 annually. The project has created an estimate of 50 indirect and direct jobs during the construction and operations phase.

In 2020, Miniplast decided to go green in order to achieve a more sustainable manufacturing process and continue to reduce plastic waste in Ghana with green energy. The manufacturing plant has two roofs, where a 782 kWp solar system was installed to cover the daytime energy demand. The system is connected to the grid, which means that the grid can provide electricity when there is no production from the solar system as Miniplast manufacturing and operations take place during the day when their energy demand is steady, making the site convenient for the solar PV.

“The Covid crisis has reminded us that Africa cannot continue to be dependent on raw materials and tourism. Africa needs manufacturing and technology-related jobs and this can only be achieved if we have reliable and affordable clean power” says Terje Osmundsen, Founder and CEO of Empower New Energy, adding, “Businesses in Africa suffer from the world’s highest cost of electricity, but this project demonstrates that unreliable power supplies can be overcome even during a pandemic such as Covid when right partnerships are formed”.

“Utilizing solar energy is advantageous for a variety of financial and environmental reasons and what is most important to us is the benefits it gives in having a reliable, steady source of power for our factory and in reducing dependence on non-renewable energy sources to help combat climate change. It is a great pleasure to become one of the leading companies in the country that is committed to using renewable energy on our factory premises. We encourage all manufacturers and recyclers to implement solar power within their industries” says Nadim Ghanem-Pares Miniplast CEO.

Miniplast is one of the leading innovative and recycling manufacturers of industrial and household plastic products in Ghana and West Africa.

Stella Futura offers renewable energy solutions, including stand-alone systems and mini-grid designs that are cost

competitive options to expand access to electricity.

Empower New energy invests in small and medium-sized

renewable energy projects that are mostly overlooked by

large investors and multilateral institutions, but vital for local

economic and social development.