Experimenting with solar energy

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

Ghana is in the midst of plenty, yet it is in want of power, water, housing, food, roads, just to mention a few.

For almost a year now, Ghana’s economic activities are tottering, looking for electricity to run businesses at full capacity.

Power rationing has abated, but we still have pockets of it in the night, disrupting small-scale businesses such as hair-dressing salons, restaurants, barbershops, petrol filling stations and wayside food vendors.

Water, which is said to be life, is being rationed in some parts of Accra and elsewhere in the country, even in the midst of very big water bodies.

Ghana is blessed with beautiful weather, with two major seasons divided between the rains and the dry weather.

In some of the countries where we go begging for food handouts, the farming period is in spring, when they prepare the land, plant and harvest.

In Ghana, the sun shines every day and it rains very often, yet we are unable to feed ourselves.

Apart from using the sun’s rays to dry cocoa, fish and other food items, the sun virtually goes waste.

The Daily Graphic is aware that the initial cost of building solar panels is very high, but countries such as Germany that have experimented with it are reaping huge benefits.

Our governments have taken some steps, but their actions are not visible enough to enable the people to appreciate the value of solar energy.

There are some traffic and streetlights in Accra and other places powered by solar energy.

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and a few other bodies have established solar plants.

Yesterday, the President inaugurated a solar plant in Navrongo in the Upper East Region to provide additional energy for the country’s development.

That is a good beginning, but we think our government can do more to leverage the enormous potential of solar energy for national development, since our present energy generation mix is susceptible to many factors beyond our control.

Sometimes the Daily Graphic wonders whether, as a nation, we are not showing our inadequacies too much, just like the needle that is always naked, although it sews tonnes of fabric every now and then.

We believe that Ghana can change the fortune of its people if its resources are properly harnessed.

Gold, for instance, is a major store of value in a world hit by an economic meltdown, and here again we are unable to take advantage of our huge gold deposits to raise the status of our people.

Unfortunately, one major spectacle in our mining communities is the devastation of the environment by mining companies and illegal miners.

We make a passionate appeal to our government and, indeed, all leaders of our society to lead the crusade to harness our human and natural resources for the betterment of our society.

The resources that nature has endowed us with, if properly managed and accounted for by our leaders, should help reduce poverty, squalor and diseases in our country.

Leadership is key in our development process, but it also takes an active citizenry to get leaders to live by the social contract they signed with the electorate when they were seeking power.

We should, therefore, demand accountability and transparency in the management of our resources from our leaders who swear “to dedicate themselves to the service and well-being of the people”.