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KNUST COLLOBRATES WITH REPOWERMAP.ORG TO PROMOTE RENEWABLE ENERGY & ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN WEST AFRICA THROUGH INTERACTIVE ONLINE MAP
Ensuring energy access to everyone and the transformation of the energy system to energy efficiency and renewable energies are key challenges, which are at the centre of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. Many actions are undertaken to reach these objectives. However, such actions are often not well visible. To make a contribution to change this, an interactive online map has been created in Ghana and Burkina Faso, on which everyone can add and view installations for the renewable energy transition near them. The initiative aims to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, particularly solar, wind and biogas in the two countries through awareness creation and knowledge sharing.
The initiative has been built up in Ghana by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in cooperation with the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) from Burkina Faso, and Association repowermap.org, Switzerland. The title of the project is “Promoting renewable energies in West Africa by knowledge exchange with interactive online map”. The project is supported by a grant provided by the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Fund (EREF), coordinated by the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), to create awareness and promote the use of renewable energy in the sub-region.
The project team in Ghana under the leadership of the project coordinators Dr. Richard Opoku and Mr. David Ato Quansah collected technical data and pictures with GIS information of over 140 renewable energy installations (mainly solar, wind and biogas) in Ghana and assisted in plotting them on an interactive online map. Anyone who has installed a renewable energy installation can add their installation to the map. The visualization of these installations aims to provide inspiration for the use of renewable energies, and to facilitate the information exchange regarding these technologies.
On the map, solar PV installations of various sizes and applications are shown, such as solar water pumping, solar energy for domestic use, solar street lighting, solar refrigerators for selling chilled drinks in some off-grid communities, solar outdoor lighting for educational facilities, and solar water heaters in hotels. In addition, biogas systems in some institutions were identified. One observation made as part of this project was that many of the users of the solar systems with capacities of 4 kW and more were using it for productive use such as running a pharmacy shop, private hospitals and clinics and for hotels.
“Interacting with the users of the solar systems, some highlighted that the initial high investment needed to setup the system is limiting many other people to have solar systems in their homes and institutions and if financial institutions and banks could give soft loans to potential users, it will enable many more people to obtain the system”, says Dr. Richard Opoku from KNUST. Interacting with a local company, 3SIL, which is into production of solar panels in Ghana, representatives from that company highlighted that local production of some components of the solar system will help to reduce overall investment cost of such systems.
“The long-term vision of the repowermap.org initiative is to make visible on the map renewable energy installations in the neighbourhood of each person – to encourage and provide inspiration for sustainable energy use with local examples near everyone”, says Roman Bolliger from Association repowermap.org.
To view the interactive online map visit: http://mech.knust.edu./research-collaborations/re-power-map
For any inquiries contact Dr. Richard Opoku (firstname.lastname@example.org)