The lights go out but I realize that my neighbours have light. I keep wondering why they have light and I don’t. Upon enquiry am told oh it’s not ECG o its Solar. Solar? Since when did solar become a part of Ghana. According to my neighbor, solar energy works by capturing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity. Solar energy though not common is gradually finding its way into the topic of provision of electricity in Ghana.
Black out has become a common thing in Ghana. It will amaze you that the long presence of light without black outs make people ask questions like; when will we get light off. The popular term, ‘Dumsor’ is something that even a child as young as three years would be able to explain to you what it means. This term came about as a result of the frequent powers surges. Everyone seem to have accepted that black- out has become a part of life in Ghana. These power surges have been attributed to low water level of the Akosombo Dam, the main place where electricity is generated.
The Akosombo Dam.
On the other , side there are certain towns in the rural areas who do not even have access to electricity at all. It sounds quite absurd but it does really exist. Speaking to a lady who comes from Wantanga, the only ways they get to see anything that looks like light is by the use of lanterns, flashlights and kerosene lamps. Students in such areas have difficulty in studying at night. The use of certain electrical gadgets like iron, fridges and blenders is not possible. Interestingly they are able to survive day in and out. Some other places have the electrical poles around without power flowing through them. For such places you should not expect drinking any chilled water after a hard day’s work. You should also be ready to sleep in the dark battling with mosquitoes and some serious heat.
These power and energy issues have been of major concern to governments past and present. It’s interesting to know that a lot has been done but more needs to be done. Hydro power is very expensive and comes with other complications. Though it’s not easy the country is trying. In its effort to develop its energy sector, Ghana decided to reform and provide the required stimulus, solar energy has been on the lips of stakeholders in the energy sector. Solar energy has been considered as cheaper, safer, and has a lifespan of its panels being 25 years. It simply is a means of power generation where the sunrays trapped are used. So you see in as much as we complain here in Ghana that oh the sun is too hot, it can be channeled into something that we can benefit greatly from.
A lot of people who build now incorporate the idea of having solar panels in their house so they escape any Dumsor related issues. It also saves a lot of money when it comes to paying electricity bills. The pictures below show houses which have solar panels fixed on their roofs.
Investing into solar energy does involve a lot of money but it’s believed that the more it becomes common and well accepted, the more the expenses surrounding it would reduce.
In the year 2015, the Ministry of Roads and Highways Authority installed one thousand two hundred and seven solar-based streetlights along the Volta, Accra, Central, Western, Ashanti, Brong Ahafo regions. This has since then been a project the government is undertaking to help improve visibility at night and reduce the rate of night occurring accidents. Most of the people who sell along the road used to stop sales latest by six in the night due to safety reasons. These solar street lights haven’t helped just people who drive along the road or walk but also the business men and women can now work a little late to make more money to be able to take care of their families.
With the emergence of interest in solar energy by the government and individuals, there’s been a couple of companies up and doing with the aim of promoting solar energy use in the country. I have a lamp which uses solar I don’t have to put battery in charge to be able to use. I just have to connect it to a portable solar panel and drop it in the sun. after work I just pick it up and I make do with it when the lights go out. A lot of money in the homes is now being used to pay off electricity bills hence the coming up of solar energy is seen a saviour by most people. Though it’s not easy to set up, solar energy is quite cheap compared to hydro energy. Apart from the very serious rainy seasons where you would not be guaranteed twenty-four-hour sun rays, it’s very reliable. Even in such moments, it would be able to work provided you don’t connect it to high energy consuming equipment.
There are so many companies now in Ghana which are into solar related business. Some of the companies are suppliers of inverters and solar panels as well as the related equipment required to set up solar. Some have their head offices in other countries like; Japan, Nigeria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, South Africa and Germany. Nocheski Solar, Takoradi Renewable Power Resource Limited, Jlaw Energy Solutions, Elpida Investment Limited, Africano Electro, Naphelix Trust Ghana Limited, AFA WestPoint Solar Systems, Karla Solar Solutions Limited, Candid Solar Systems and Inverter Go are all companies doing one thing or the other with solar. Some smart Ghanaians have also decided to invest into it and are all over the country trying to make the concept of solar popular. In as much as some people do not know about solar energy, some of these company offer consultancy services for people. They give the people the chance to choose from a variety of ideas concerning solar.
Investing into solar business I think would be a very nice idea because come to think of it the more this gets accepted the more people would be interested in making use and hence the more money solar companies would be making. I believe that in just some few years to come people would rather do solar than pay huge electricity bills. Apart from saving money we would also be putting this very hot sun into very good use.