The Institute of Industrial Research (IIR) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has so far trained a total of 1,742 electricians in Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) Design, Sizing, Installation and Maintenance in the country.
The beneficiaries, who are members of Certified Electrical Wiring Professionals (CEWPAG), were drawn from across the country.
Solar PV is a technology that converts sunlight (solar radiation) into electricity by using semiconductors. When the sun hits the semiconductor within the PV cell, electrons are freed and form an electric current. Solar PV technology is generally employed on a panel.
The trainees were taken through an overview of the energy situation in Ghana, solar energy systems (PV and Thermal), charge controllers, invertors, batteries, health and safety and marketing in the 5-day training of trainers workshop in Accra.
The training co-ordinator of the project, Mr Eric Nyarko, noted that with an average amount of sunshine, conscious efforts could to be made to increase the utilisation of solar energy in the country.
“Solar is no longer expensive. These days, the cost of the panels have reduced drastically, and with the number of people trained, the country now has adequate expertise to aid the penetration of solar PV as an alternative energy source,” he added.
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The National President of CEWPAG, Mr Wisdom Gakpo, said the training was in preparation for a possible upsurge in solar use, saying more than 1,500 professional installers were ready and well-equipped to address all solar PV related concerns.
A participant from the Upper West Region, Mutawakilu Mogtari, appealed for a government subsidy on the importation of Solar components to make it more affordable for potential users.
According to him, a high solar penetration will substantially lift the burden off traditional energy sources that have proven to be inefficient, unreliable and exhaustive.
The country has for decades relied solely on hydropower from three dams, of which the Akosombo Dam is the largest for electricity. The Akosombo Dam was originally built in the 1920s and revamped in the 1950s by Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first President.
Energy experts have in recent years, however, advocated a departure from the over-reliance on hydropower to the usage of renewable energy sources such as Solar PV.
To increase the rate of penetration of Solar PV usage, CEWPAG began a 6-month project to train members.
Partners on the project include the Energy Commission, the Electricity Company of Ghana, Telsol KA Ltd while IIR of CSIR provided the technical training with funding from a Skills Development Fund (SDF) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).