Energy Commission pushes for private sector investments in solar energy

SolarThe Energy Commission says Ghana will not need external funding to harness its renewable energy resources if private sector participation in the industry is expanded.
According to the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Kwame Ampofo, Ghana is on the right track in generating power from renewable energy, especially solar, and has underscored the need for an enabling environment to  promote private sector investments in the sector.
“Without international help, we’re still making strides; therefore let’s look inward into ourselves, what resources we can get and open up the industry for private participation,” he said.
The abundance of solar energy in Africa has a huge potential and its use is growing fast. Solar is clean and produces no air, thermal and water pollution and can help reduce greenhouse gases that threaten the irreversible climate change for the planet.
A major concern, however, is about the costs and doubts over efficiency of extraction. Solar inverters and panels are expensive but research and innovation can help find cheaper sources of materials to replace silicon wafers to bring down cost.
The Chemistry Department at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is involved in collaborative research to get alternative energy from the sun.
Other energy sources like biomass energy derive their origins from the sun, hence materials chemistry plays an important role in the development of the solar energy sector.
The University hosted an international conference on materials chemistry organized by the Pan African Chemistry Network (PACN) on the theme “Renewable and Sustainable Energy from the African Hot Sun: Can Material Chemistry Help to Deliver?”.
Provost of the College of Science at the KNUST, Prof. Mrs Ibok Oduro, stressed on the utilization of solar energy as a source of renewable energy.
“All countries and economies stand to gain by understanding solar energy’s potential to fill a very large part of total energy needs economically, in a secure and sustainable manner in the future,” she said.
The Energy Commission estimates that the county receives sunshine duration of 1,800 to 3,000 house per annum, making it a friendly environment for solar energy to flourish.
But about 80percent of communities in Ghana are connected to the national electricity grid which sources its energy mainly from hydro and thermal.
Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, Prof. Kwesi Obiri Danso noted that “hydro sources are becoming unreliable because of changing trends in climatic conditions.
He added: “Thermal sources are becoming increasingly expensive because they depend on petroleum whose price is erratic and unreliable. Getting sustainable source of electricity will require depending on a reliable and inexhaustible source of energy. One of these sources is solar energy”.
Prof. Johannes Awudza, Chairman of conference organizing committee, said the outcomes will help find solutions to challenges in developing solar energy.
By Kofi Adu Domfeh|TV3|

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