Challenges facing the emerging Solar Energy industry in Ghana
To understand the solar energy concept better, the Council provides two classifications of solar energy to include, the photovoltaic and the thermal collectors. The photovoltaic converts the directly obtained solar energy into electricity without the inclusion of any heat engines. On the other hand, the solar thermal energy is used mainly for domestic purposes such as water heating, but their large plant's collection can be used for industrial electricity purposes. Eshun & Amoako-Tuffour on their study on the Ghanaian power sector provides an overview of how power sector in Ghana has been growing from the hydro phases to the use of crude oil to the adoption of the solar energy system. The trend provides succinct details imperative to the solar energy industry to establish the loopholes and market potential.
Such regions as pointed out by the Energy Commission include; the northern regions, Brong-Ahafo as well as the Volta regions (25). Therefore, with proper government interventions, solar energy can be more effective since the adequacy of the resource will trigger the reduction in the cost of energy. Smiet indicates that the inclusion of higher tariffs on electricity and gas source of energy by the government has paved a great opportunity for solar energy industry in Ghana (4). The availability of solar resource in Ghana is abundant (Smiet 9). On daily basis, there is a solar irradiation at a minimum of 4. 2 percent of the nation’s entire energy generation. There is more of government acceptance of the solar energy as an alternative to thermal and hydro sources.
The International Trade Administration acknowledges the Ghanaian solar energy prospects. Solar energy is among the primary sources of electrical power. The industry is faced with great opportunities as a result of the insufficiency and high cost of light crude oil (LCO) which is the primary form of plants thermal generation in Ghana. Therefore, most of the communities in Ghana are unlikely to be connected to electricity within the 2020 goal if the government fails to consider any other alternative to grid extension. Therefore, Ahiataku considers solar energy as the best alternative based on its effective sourced from a survey from Off-Grid Solar electrification project which is supported by the Spanish government. Moreover, the solar industry faces a great challenge in regards to the political influence that is exerted on grid extension.
Despite a common slogan used by the voters “no electrification no vote” electrification of all parts of the country has not been achieved (Ahiataku 25). The politics of electricity is often in Ghana with most of the candidates using it as a strategy of garnering votes. One of the considerable efforts to tap on the opportunities was in 2012 when a UK-based company (Blue Energy) opted to invest more than $400 million on solar power in Ghana. Another opportunity for the solar energy in Ghana as enumerated by Amankwah-Amoah is the improvement of the existing solar lighting system. Amankwah-Amoah indicates that 92% of people using solar energy in Ghana must accompany other methods such as traditional kerosene lanterns as a way of meeting their lighting requirements.
Therefore, this is an opportunity for the solar energy industry to come up with more improved systems that will meet the population's demands without consideration of other energy sources. Bawakyillenuo states that renewable energy which encompasses solar energy as its component has been implemented in the Ghanaian electricity coverage development goal of 2020 (14). Ghana is considered the leaders in solar energy within the West African region. However, this position was acquired as result of government involvement in terms of policy implementation in the renewable energy sector in 2011. Therefore, in a working legal environment, investors and other solar energy industry players may find Ghana more attractive compared to other West African countries. The sentiments of Coleman that “Ghana is one of best jurisdictions I’ve worked in” is a proof that the political climate in Ghana provides a great opportunity for the solar energy industry (Willis 5).
The government has ensured that there are precise regulations (renewable energy act), rigorous and transparent systems which are a vital consideration for emerging industries. Methodology and data collection The research is largely depended on online resources such as journals, books, websites (credible), conference discussions which are all accessed through the internet and university’s library. Before collecting the research materials, one important factor in regards to source time relevance was considered primarily because this paper is intended to provide the most recent position of the existing challenges and opportunities for the solar energy industry in Ghana. Therefore, to attain the relevance, all the data used are sourced from current materials to in order to give precise, accurate and reliable information. Qualitative method The purpose of this research is to accumulate knowledge of the existing opportunities and challenges within the Ghanaian solar market industry.
Thus the qualitative method is the most appropriate of all (Muller 3). Moreover, the choice of content analysis was important considering the requirement of concluding and understanding particular investigated phenomena presented through the materials such as books (Satu & Hevi 109). Historical technique In order to understand the background and development of the solar energy industry in Ghana, the historical technique is the most effective approach. This method encompasses among others, growth, origins and crisis. Moreover, this method incorporates the characteristics of the qualitative and quantitative method in the collection of information. Through this technique, the paper will establish a clear line on the development of solar energy in Ghana with specific development trends in all the regions of the country. Public accountability Public accountability is also an important ethical consideration for this paper.
In this paper, adherence to the rules of human subjects’ protection will be highly regarded to avoid any emergence of conflict of interests and misconduct. The adherence to the requirements of public accountability, public support will be guaranteed. Confidentiality and privacy respect It is not in a debate that upholding of individuals rights to privacy and confidentiality of great importance especially in research involves a wide range of people scattered throughout the population. Protection of individual’s privacy and confidentiality is the chief of the ethical consideration in this paper. Lastly, the research that will be conducted for this paper has the possibility of polarizing the image and stigmatizing certain individuals from their political views on solar energy in Ghana. Therefore, in the avoidance of tarnishing individual’s perception, creating cases and risking an entire political party acquiring consent is considered imperative.
Discussion Introduction According to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that was adopted in September 2015, the universal goal to eradicate energy poverty through the provision of reliable, affordable, modern as well as sustainable was implemented (Trotter 111). The Sub-Saharan African countries which includes Ghana, there is a unparalleled growth of renewable energy which further created energy inequality. The 21st century has seen the growth of solar energy in Africa grow tremendously as most businesses especially in the rural areas where grid connection has not yet been established. The loss was calculated annually and was encountered in the distribution and transmission of electricity. Ghana biggest electricity distribution company, ECG recorded an annual loss of 3. 9 percent in transmission and a whopping 16. 2 percent in distribution of electricity.
Poor equipment which has led distribution inefficiency is considered the main cause of electricity losses in the country. As result, these initial consumers have demonstrated their capability in to influence other consumers in the lower income levels. As Amankwah-Amoah (26), indicates, most of the Ghanaians are faced with the challenge of paying of the 90% cost of solar panels during their first installment and which is the requirement. Therefore, the lack of proper financing mechanism has pushed individuals who are willing to invest in solar energy as the cost if beyond the reach of most of them. Government on its parts has also failed to provide a conducive environment to develop human capital which is essential to the spread of technology around every corner of the country.
Speaking of solar energy, it is considered to be part of the renewable source of energy which has is characterized by many challenges in Ghana. In other solar energy hurdles, most of the financing institutions have set a limit to single borrowers such that there are several financial constraints in terms of security which limits the solar energy developers in expanding the current market size and characteristics. Other solar energy developers are incapacitated in the development of projects that can be deemed bankable for purpose of attracting external funding. The lack of focus and precise attention by the developers can also be regarded as part of the poor financing. Some of the developers have the perception that renewable energy is marred by poor regulatory framework which lacks clarity on the growth and development of renewable energy.
As is the case with other countries such as U. In situation where foreign expertise is used, the UNDP considers this to me a stopgap measure that cannot adequately address and drive the Ghanaian solar energy industry to the next level. In training and professional institutions, there is no standardized curriculum that would help steer the entrepreneurial as well as proper technical training in regards to the solar energy industry (UNDP 49). Therefore, without proper competency-based individuals training the growth of solar energy industry in Ghana has been derailed. This has further caused a decrease in the number of the personnel who can help in the design, planning and the installation of solar panels and related equipment as part of the renewable energy systems.
Additionally, the solar equipment maintenance and repair have also been affected due to the limited after-sale services. These players have made it difficult for most of the local firms to benefit in terms of knowledge and expertise. Political interference Political will is of utmost importance is establishing new changes especially the solar industry which is positioned an environment characterized by strong political influence. There are several policies which has been proposed by different regimes in Ghana all focused towards promotion of renewable energy specifically solar energy and biogas (Bensah et al’ 74). However, these policies in order to be translated into tangible projects, political will are considered an important driver. However, it yet to be seen how the government is taking measures to push for penetration of the solar energy and renewable energy at large in Ghana.
Energy politics is one of the major challenges to the growth and development of solar industry in Ghana (Bawakyillenuo n. p). The availability of fossil fuels as the major energy source not only in the Ghana but in the world has led to the emergence of a new renewable energy paradigm by environmentalists. However, in Ghana, as result of already existing powerful fossil fuels cartels, the adoption of renewable source of energy which includes solar energy has been met with stiff competition. The fossil fuel high profile individuals have successfully obstructed the process of adopting renewable energy to suit their personal interests. For instance, under the Ministry of Power, the adoption of directorate for Renewable and Alternative Energy has resulted to harmonization as well as coordination of the different policies governing renewable energy.
In terms of policies and laws which support solar energy and renewable energy in entirety, the government has been reluctant and only one major policy has been adopted. The government has not taken stiff measures to show their support for solar energy with most of the policy bills stuck in parliament without any finalization. Bensah et al’ (90) note that absence of national programs that are prioritized on solar energy industry as part of the larger renewable energy. In general, the author states that renewable energy has not received priority in the programs of the state. Conclusion The solar industry in Ghana is characterized by great potential of growth as result of adequate resources. Africa is considered the richest source of raw materials for the solar industry and Ghana being of the countries, has proved the development potentials which once tapped and drive the economy to the next level.
However, despite this, Ghana faces great challenges in regards to its solar industry ranging from political interference, technical and training know-how, poor regulations and policies and lack of proper coordination to steer the development of solar energy. However, in order to tap into the potential that the country has in regards to the solar industry, efficient and effective policy implementation is needed in order to ensure that the existing barriers have been removed. The government to adopt steps that would help meets the renewable energy goals of 2020 and beyond. Kumi, Ebenezer Nyarko. The Electricity Situation in Ghana: Challenges and Opportunities. Center for Global Development, 2017. Amankwah‐Amoah, Joseph. "Solar energy in sub‐Saharan Africa: The challenges and opportunities of technological leapfrogging. "The Political Economy of Renewable Energy Investment in Ghana.
Retrieved from: http://bulletin. ids. ac. uk/idsbo/article/view/2918/Online%20article. export. gov/article?id=Ghana-Energy. Accessed on June 10, 2018. Smiet, Fred. “Business Opportunities for Renewable Energy in Ghana. v4. pdf. Accessed on June 11, 2018. Energy Commission. “Ghana Sustainable Energy For All Action Plan. "Content analysis: Objective, systematic, and quantitative description of content. " Content analysis 1 (2008). Resnik, David B. "What is ethics in research & why is it important. " National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. apa. org/monitor/jan03/principles. aspx. Accessed on June 11, 2018. Eshun, Maame Esi, and Joe Amoako-Tuffour. “China-Ghana South-South Cooperation on Renewable Energy Technology Transfer. United Nations Development Program. Retrieved from: http://energycom. gov. gh/files/Barriers%20to%20Renewable%20Energy%20Technology %20Transfer%20in%20Ghana(2015). Tawiah, G. “Review on solar utilization in Ghana.
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