The role of solar energy in Ghana Energy security and climate change

Fossil fuel price instability, as well as rising costs and climate change, and efforts to reduce pollution have recently resulted in unprecedented investments in renewable energy sources around the world.

Ghana, like many other countries, is focused on integrating renewable energies into the national energy mix to ensure energy security, ensure a cleaner environment and mitigate climate change.

Sustainable energy security must therefore be one of the main concerns if Ghana is interested in solving a multifaceted development problem. Energy security plays an important role in empowering people.

Higher energy consumption increases production, promotes economic growth and improves the standard of living – all symbols of development, which in turn lead to higher energy consumption. In addition, consumption and energy production also play an important role in various environmental problems such as climate change, the depletion of natural resources and air pollution.

Security of supply for a country means the country’s ability to efficiently generate and produce energy from diversified sources, including renewable energies, e.g. B. Solar energy.

Currently, most of the renewable energy interventions in the country are carried out either as pilot projects or on the basis of a short-term planning cycle.

As a result, there is no clear integrated roadmap for the long-term development and promotion of the various renewable energy sources in the country. In order to address the related implications of such short-term planning of the overall development of the renewable energy sector, a plan needs to be drawn up to develop a framework for the promotion and development of the country’s rich renewable energy resources for sustainable economic growth to contribute to improvement social life and reducing the adverse effects of climate change.

Solar energy is an efficient tool to support energy supply and sustainability in Ghana. Investing in solar energy appears to be a promising solution for rural electrification in Ghana.

Small solar systems seem to be best suited as they are suited to the needs of rural communities. Most of the components are inexpensive in Africa and in Chinese markets.

Qualified local employees are available to set up the system.

For example, Ghana black spider has been providing solar technology for homes, farms, hospitals, industrial and commercial buildings in rural and urban areas of Ghana for more than four years.

Ghana can learn from Saudi Arabia, where solar power is incredibly popular because of the height of the day. Most of the energy is used for heating and cooling, which is generated from solar energy.

It’s a much more effective, cheaper, and more sensible method of heating and cooling than burning oil, which can be conserved and used more strategically. This has been a positive benefit for Saudi Arabia, and Ghana can do the same.

At the end of 2015, more than 10 MWp of stand-alone solar systems were installed in Ghana. These are used nationwide for lighting, pumping water, and powering computers for teaching and learning ICT and vaccine cooling. Over 70,000 solar lanterns were distributed.

Stand-alone solar PV systems in Ghana are market-oriented, which has been promoted in the past by state and donor-supported community projects. There have been several of these government projects, but some cases show years of success. Notable cases in the community include the Weichau project, the Spanish government funded Isofoton project, the UNDP and GEF funded Renewable Energy Services Project (RESPRO), and the ARB Apex Bank project.

The aim of these projects was to provide lighting solutions and other services to these communities. Many of them worked successfully until the network expansion reached the community.

All of these projects were based on the fee model and community ownership was key to their success.

Written by Philip Kyeremanteng, MSc CEnv CSci

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