Bedabo community in frenzy…over installation of £70,000 solar park
Ms Magdalena Sikorowska speaking at the commissioning of the solar panel
Bedabo, a community in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality in the Ashanti Region, was thrown into frenzy when a photovoltaic power station (solar park) was commissioned to provide electricity for about 2000 inhabitants at the weekend.
The development was under the auspices of the Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA) in collaboration with Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED) and SNV Netherlands.
It was a joyous moment for the inhabitants whose hopes of having electricity ended up in smithereens when government’s plans to bring electricity to the area was abandoned.
That clearly explained the excitement that engulfed the community as the inhabitants showed appreciation to the institutions that brought joy to the area.
The Krontihene of the town, Nana Omono Asamoah, confirmed that in 2008, there was an attempt by the government to extend electricity to the area but it had been abandoned, with the electrical cables loosely hanging on the poles.
He was full of praise to SESA and AAMUSTED for the project which he said had made the town a ‘talking point’, and appealed for an extension of the project to the other communities to boost education in the areas.
Photovoltaic is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, typically including an inverter, a battery pack for energy storage, a charge controller, interconnection wiring and circuit breakers.
The 20 kilowatts photovoltaic power station has about 10 interconnected solar panels which absorb the sunlight and generate energy through the photoelectric effect.
It was developed by Nastech, a Ghanaian Company that received an amount of €70,000 by SESA to build the system for eight communities in the Municipality.
Ms Magdalena Sikorowska, SESA Project Coordinator, said SESA was a collaborative project between the European Union and nine African countries, including Ghana.
She said it was their aim “to provide energy access technologies and business models that were easily replicable, and generate local opportunities for economic development and social cohesion in Africa”.
Ms Sikorowska said her outfit would continue to work with stakeholders like AAMUSTED, which is the host institution of the project, to delve deeper into energy technology solutions to better the lives of Ghanaians.
Dr Ing. Albert Awopone, Senior lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Education of AAMUSTED, indicated that originally the system was meant to be installed in two selected Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Municipality, Nkawie and Toase SHS, to provide light for the ICT laboratories to enable students learn in the night.
“But we realised that these schools are already connected to the national grid, and that brought us to BedabO community,” he mentioned.
He said it was time for the government to embrace photovoltaic power systems and invest in them because they have an uninterrupted power supply and were cheaper.
According to Dr Awopone, the installation of the photovoltaic system in Bedabo “is part of our SESA innovation project in trying to solve energy situation in the country by providing sustainable solutions using green energy”.
Mr Eric Anarfi, Atwima Nwabiagya Municipal Coordinating Director, could not hide his joy about the project, thanking SESA for what he said would enhance education in the community.
On his part, Mr Samuel Asare of Nastech, said with the €70,000, they would develop a similar system for eight communities in the Municipality, stressing that three had been built, with two at Bedabo and one at Kwame Dwa with the rest in the offing.
He indicated that SNV Netherlands earlier gave a grant of GHȻ36,000 as a startup, after he had gone through a six-month Incubation/Acceleration Programme under the Boosting Green Employment and Enterprise Opportunities in Ghana (GrEEn) Project.
Energy Advisor of SNV Netherlands, Odjobi Kwakye, said they would not relent in their support to develop the skills of young Ghanaian would-be entrepreneurs’ green energy solutions.
Earlier, SESA launched two biofuel stoves at the Nkawie and Toase SHS to improve the health of cooking staff of the schools as the device was smokeless.
From Kingsley E. Hope, Atwima Nwabiagya