The recent Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) summit has thrown out a number of thoughts that need to be followed through to improve industry as a whole.
The energy session of the summit focused on reduction of energy costs to both individuals and industry. In a statistics shared as part of the presentation the cost of energy in Ghana at 24 US Cents kw/h was deemed too high as compared to countries like China, Egypt, South Africa and a few other countries.
The high expense of energy generation costs is a major pain to businesses. They are paying too much! The high energy cost is ascribed to the high cost of generation which involves light crude oil (LCO) and the unfavourable foreign exchange stand of the Ghana Cedi against the US Dollar. LCO is purchased in US Dollars. One recommended remedy for bringing down the cost to individuals and industry was to switch to the use of SOLAR. Solar has always been on the lips of Ghanaians considering the abundance of its supply in our region. We have simply failed. Governments have not been seen taking pragmatic steps towards he adoption of solar energy. Ing Koroama from the Volta River Authority (VRA) was as emphatic when he recommended solar. Mr. Winfried Owtscharenko CEO of Yinglis Namene, a company that provides solar power services indicated that the rate of user adoption is increasing and therefore cost of installation is declining accordingly due to scale. A representative of the Energy Commission indicated that they donate 500 Watts of solar panels to homes who indicate readiness of installing solar energy by purchasing battery and other components. They are also advising roofing companies to create allowance in the roof for solar installation for new houses to be constructed. There were further recommendations to drive solar adaptation into other parts of the country in a coordinated manner. The usefulness of solar as an alternate source of energy is not new to Ghanaians. However, the sheer will and poise by leaders and institutions to make it a reality has woefully failed.
The drive seem to have gained a lot more momentum and now may be the time to get interested. Initial investment obligation could be significant but it is an investment worthwhile and which could be recouped in the short to medium term and be beneficial in the long term.
With the exception of the regular maintenance of the solar system one installs, the cost of energy could be reduced from 24 US Cents/Kwh to 0 US Cents/Kwh. In effect this is how much Ghanaians are paying for not using solar energy which already abounds. The aggregate and significant energy cost savings to both individuals and industry would be achieved when level of adoption deepens.