Akuse hosts West Africa power sector training in solar

BY: Ezekiel E. Sottie
Participants and officials of VRA
Participants and officials of VRA

A Five-Day training and certification programme in Solar Energy for the benefit of stakeholders of the West African Power Sector is underway at the Volta River Authority (VRA) Academy at Akuse in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region.

Twenty-four participants francophone and anglophone countries are participating in the strategic training on the theme “Maintenance and Performance Monitoring of Solar Energy Generation Facilities” which is being sponsored by the World Bank forms part of efforts towards the development of solar parks in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The participants are from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Benin, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Cote d’Ivoire among others.

In a brief statement at the launching of the training programme, yesterday, the Chief Learning Officer of the VRA Academy, Mr Kingsley Gyamfi, said that over the years, the VRA Academy had partnered and collaborated effectively with the West African Power Pool (WAPP) to train member states of the regional body.

Partnership

He said as a result of the partnership of VRA, WAPP had engaged the services of Institute International d’Ingenie L’Eau de I’Environment (Institute 2IE) based in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, to prepare a Solar Renewable Energy Training and Certification Programme for the West Africa electricity sector under the WAPP Secretariat.

Mr Gyamfi said similar programmes had been rolled out in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal in which VRA also fully participated. He, therefore, hoped the knowledge the participants would acquire would position them to proffer professional solutions and facilitate the rapid development of solar renewable energy in the sub region.

The Chief Executive of VRA, Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, who was represented by his deputy in charge of Services, Dr Mrs Stella Agyenim-Boateng, at the programme launch, said the capacity building programme was part of the West Africa Solar Park Development Project, which aims among other things, at supporting a harmonised and systematic regional approach to scaling up competitive and large –scale production, drawing on private capital, with the view to reducing the cost of solar generation facilities and increase the part solar plays in the energy mix.

Overall objective

Mr Antwi-Darkwa said the overall objective of the training and certification programmes being implemented at the designated centres of excellence was to have a pool of experts capable of carrying out the preparation, implementation, operation and maintenance of solar energy production facilities in ECOWAS countries.

He said the capacity building programme was the first of the innovation and forward-looking initiative taken as a result of the recommendation of the Human Resources Study Committee of the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA).

The Solar Generation/WAPP Representative, Mr Francis Sempore, said the participants were very much aware of the importance their respective countries attached to the training programme and should, therefore, participate fully in order to be well equipped and use the knowledge they would be acquiring at the end of the training to improve solar renewable energy in their countries.