The photo is sourced from renewableenergyworld.com
The project is aimed at improving the access to electricity in Ghana, especially in remote agricultural areas, where only 74% had such access to the common grid in 2021. The initiative will also provide for the growth in using solar energy, which is still playing an insignificant role in the local energy mix. According to the Ember research centre, the share of photovoltaic panels in the energy mix of Ghana in 2022 made only 0.3%, while as the share of gas-fired CHPPs was 49.2%, and the share of diesel-fired plants and hydro power plants– 16% and 34.5%, respectively. As of the end of the last year, the total capacity of solar generation in Ghana reached 98 MW, which is below the similar metric for many African Sub-Saharan countries including Kenia (307 MW), Angola (297 MW), Senegal (263 MW) and Malawi (143 MW).
According to the UN Framework Convention on the climate change, a distributed generation source with the capacity not exceeding 15 MW is attributed to a micro-grid. The stand-alone solar panels are the most common generation source, and their use becomes easier thanks to a number of innovations. For example, Italian firm Barrel designed a photovoltaic unit, which may be transported in a barrel. The standard package comprises solar modules with 6 KW capacity each, lithium batteries with the capacity of 3.5 KW*hr and an inverter for 5.6 KW for converting direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC). One such unit has enough capacity to supply power for one house with four or five inhabitants. The innovation is already used in a number of African countries (Mali, Morocсo, Nigeria) and Middle East (Oman, UAE).
“The stand-alone solar generators may cover the electricity needs of agriculture, irrigation, agricultural products processing, as well as in other processing industries and natural resources extraction”, Mikael Alemu, the winner of the Global Energy Honorary Diploma, about Ethiopia, another sub-Saharan country, at the conference “From Regional to Global: Africa”. “Diesel-fired generation is five times more expensive vs the solar one, and Ethiopia imports diesel fuel for USD 1 bn every year to produce electricity. We need to stop this insanity”, he emphasised.