Danish firm to deliver off-grid power in 98 districts

A Danish firm, Johs. Gram-Hanssen A/S, and its local representatives, Best Solar, have started the installation of Photovoltaic (PV) solar systems in 150 selected basic schools in 98 districts across the country to facilitate learning by schoolchildren in the communities.

The Solar Stand Alone Power Systems and Rechargeable Lanterns, which are part of the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP), is expected to be completed by March 2015, project contractors have told the Daily Graphic.

The government is implementing the off-grid lighting and lantern solution with a credit line from the World Bank. With the increasing cost of fossil fuel and diesel, renewable energy provides a cost-effective and clean alternative to existing power generation in Ghana.

As the project draws to a close, Johs. Gram-Hanssen A/S has organised a one-week intensive hands-on training for trainers of their local partners and technicians to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and understanding of renewable energy in general.

It was also to educate the participants in the usage, possibilities and limitations of the PV Systems and renewable energy opportunities in Ghana.

The training which took place in Sogakope, the South Tongu District Capital, from December 17-23, 2014, was handled by two World Bank and E.U. Certified Trainers – Dr Mohammad Hafidz Machfudz (University of Indonesia) and Mr Peter J.M. Konings of the Asia-Pacific Energy Group.

Dr Hafidz commended the government, especially officials of the Ministry of Energy’s Renewables Department for their efforts in disseminating information.

For his part, Mr Konings recognised the numerous quality of manpower available in the country and asked the authorities to channel some resources to support the maintenance of the PV systems in the country so that they do not become white elephants.

He emphasised the need to train technicians and said, “Solar is the future. The World Bank and the government can provide the money and facilities but if you don’t have properly trained technicians, your systems will lack proper maintenance.”

Poor maintenance can render the PV systems useless in just a year instead of between eight and 25 years if training and maintenance are not taken seriously.

Mr Konings also suggested that the participants should form ‘maintenance gangs’ and approach the authorities for such jobs which will create awareness and pressure the authorities to make room for a ‘maintenance culture’.

source : Graphic Online