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The marker on this map shows the location of Aiwiaso, Ghana, a town small enough that one could count the number of buildings within it in short order. And, if all goes according to plan, it will in 2015 be the location of the fourth-largest solar photovoltaic plant in the world and the largest in Africa.

From The Guardian:

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Blue Energy, the renewable energy developer behind the $400m project, which has built a solar farm 31 times smaller outside Swindon, [England,] said the 155MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will be fully operational by October 2015. Construction on the Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by the end of 2013, with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules. …

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The company said it expects to create 200 permanent jobs and 500 during the construction phase, which already has the go-ahead from planning authorities.

Why the investment? Because Ghana, unlike some countries, set a national renewable energy target last year, including a feed-in tariff. Ghana aims to get 10 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

This house in western Ghana has a small solar panel on its roof (the white rectangle).

stignygaardThis house in western Ghana has a small solar panel on its roof (held up by the white rectangle).

That’s not the only way in which Ghana is ahead of the curve on energy use.

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The average carbon footprint of a Ghanian is 0.4 tonnes of CO2, compared to 8.5 tonnes of CO2 per head in the UK.

… And 17.3 tons in the U.S.

If you’re curious, the largest PV installation in the world is Agua Caliente, in the southwestern corner of Arizona. USA No. 1, etc.