Solar panel

A new life changing solar energy system aimed at augmenting rural electricity power generation using the sun?s direct energy has been launched in Accra.

Dubbed Solar2Africa400, the system consists of a portable folding solar panel, a cable, a connector and a 400-watt power inverter.

It is aimed at responding to the growing demand for off-grid electrification solutions and support government?s efforts at cutting down the cost of extending the national grid to island and lakeside communities.

The innovation was born out of collaboration between Power for Africa, a United Kingdom based company, which designed the system for developing countries such as Ghana and Gem Technologies, a Ghanaian company.

The solar power system has been pre-configured and selling at a current promotional cost of GH?2,600 and can serve a household by connecting a television, a fan and three tube lights over night when fully charged.

At the launch of the system at the British High Commission in Accra, a Deputy Director in charge of Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Seth Mahu lauded the initiative and said it goes to augment government?s plan of exploiting renewable energy to meet the energy needs of the country.

He said the way to go as the country struggled to keep pace with electricity demand which is growing at a very high pace was the reliance on solar energy.

He said although  electricity coverage in the country had reached 74percent as of December 2012, a significant proportion of Ghanaians live without access to electricity and clean energy for cooking and processing.

?At the moment there are over 200 golden islands and 2000 lakeside communities in the country which are not likely to be connected to the national grid anytime soon?.

?Beside the ongoing off-grid projects, the next feasible means of providing electricity to these communities is through renewable energy based mini-grid schemes?.

Mr Mahu said government had initiated programmes and projects to promote renewable energy for off-grid, mini-grid and grid-connected applications because of the role that solar energy can play to ensure universal access to electricity, energy security and job creation.

With support from the World Bank we are currently developing between five and seven pilot renewable energy based mini-grid schemes to enable us establish the most appropriate ownership and management model for the mass deployment of mini-grid electrification on these islands and lakeside communities nationwide, he said.

The deputy director said the role of the private sector in achieving these objectives couldnot be overemphasized.

He noted that interest in the renewable energy market in Ghana had seen a phenomenon growth due in part to government?s efforts to address the impacts of climate change, sound macro-economy, stable democracy and the successful passage of the Renewable Energy Bill into Law in 2011 (Act 832).

Act 832 aims at providing the fiscal incentives and regulatory framework to achieve 10 percent share of Renewable Energy in the electricity generation mix by 2020.

Mr Mahu said with the support of the World Bank, a revolving line-of-credit facility providing 80per cent long term liquidity on-lent to selected rural banks for financing consumer loans for solar home systems has been established.

He said in order to improve the performance of public institutions in off-grid communities, the government has also embarked on solar electrification for public institutions including schools, health facilities and national security outposts and that since 2010, well over 2,300 solar PV systems have been installed in off-grid public institutions.

The Managing Director of Gem Technologies, Mr John Nyame for the past three and a half years, his outfit had installed over 600 solar backup systems in parts of the country.

He said the introduction of the product was to help transform the lives of rural communities with increased economic activity and improve educational standards whiles on the other hand, convince law makers to consider enacting laws which would allow government?s projects to be executed using solar systems and to also convince management of companies to commit part of their corporate social responsibilities to touch the lives of deprived communities.

On his part Mr Paul Mercer, Managing Director of Power to Africa described the Solar2Africa400 product as portable, extremely versatile, affordable and very safe to use with pre-configuration.

 

Source: Daily Graphic

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