Feasibility study of solar thermal electric-power generation in Northern Ghana

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This thesis looks at the viability of a 20 MW Solar Thermal Electric-Power Plant operating in northern Ghana. Available insolation data such as Solar Map, DNI Map, SWERA Report and NASA Data, as compiled in the RETScreen software places Wa, the capital city of the Upper West Region as the most appropriate site for the plant in northern Ghana. The DNI map puts the Direct Normal Insolation of Wa at 4.0-4.5 kWh/m2.day. The annual energy production of the plant is estimated by the RETScreen software at 27.6 GWh while an estimated value of the capacity factor using a methodology making use of monthly global irradiation values in the RETScreen software places it at 15.76%. The annual Green House Gas (GHG) savings is 13,503.4 tCO2. The total initial cost of the 20 MW Central Receiver System with a capital cost of US $3,600/kW is about US $87 million. The system can be financially viable if there is a judicious mix of major capital subsidies and modest feed-in tariffs in the hope that Central Receiver System (CRS) cost would drop significantly. For a lifetime of 30 years: the plant is found to be financially viable at the current Bulk Supply Tariff (BST) of 8 US Cents if a minimum of 60% grant is provided at a capital cost of US $1000/kW. At the same tariff, a grant of 80% would make the system viable at a capital cost of US $2000/kW and below. Analysis with RETScreen software shows that if there is no capital subsidy or grant; at a capital cost of US $3600/kW, the plant becomes financially viable at a feed-in tariff of 40 US Cents or more.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering.