General News of Friday, 27 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
The government has announced new initiatives on solar energy that will result in the setting up of 200,000 rooftop solar systems this year.
It is expected to save the country about 200 megawatts of power daily. President John Dramani Mahama announced this in his State of the Nation address delivered to Parliament in Accra yesterday.
He said the government would facilitate the establishment of a prepaid solar scheme by the private sector to enable residents of remote off-grid communities to own and enjoy solar lighting.
“We are also working on a proposal that would make solar power available for micro-enterprises operated by barbers, hairdressers, dressmakers and other such micro-entrepreneurs whose businesses have been hit by the present power challenges,” he said, adding that “the solution will also be available for residential consumers.”
President Mahama indicated that the government intended to fund the solar project with a proposed adjustment of the Energy Fund Levy on Petroleum Products from Gp0.05 to Gp1.0, “part of which will be used to establish the Renewable Energy Fund.”
“We also propose to introduce an ancillary service charge of Gp1.0 per kWh of electricity transmitted, part of which will be used to support the solar photovoltaic system,” he added.
President Mahama stressed the need for electricity consumers to look at the issue of power conservation while the government addressed the challenge of power generation.
“By following the simple tips published by the Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), we can lower our electricity bills significantly,” he added.
He commended the Energy Commission for the successful start of the Refrigerator Energy Efficiency Project under which the Commission was replacing old refrigerators with new energy-efficient ones for households at a discount.
“In Ghana, on average, refrigerators consume more than 1,200 kWh/year. If you consider that almost 30 per cent of households in Ghana have a minimum of two refrigerators, then a lot of energy can be saved,” he pointed out.
President Mahama said the government had also started the conversion of CFL bulbs to LED bulbs, saying that in many areas, solar powered LED streetlights had been installed.
That, he said, had the potential to reduce consumption of power by lighted bulbs by up to 60 per cent as the LED bulbs lasted longer and “in some cases up to 15 years.”