Solar street lights will save economy US$46million annually

July 25, 2017
Source: Maxmillian Kwarteng l thebftonline.com l Ghana
Solar street lights will save economy US$46million annually

Energy shortage is perhaps the biggest threat to Ghana’s economic growth. For the year 2016, the total electricity requirement of the country was projected as 18,185-18,737 GWh, with VALCO, the country’s aluminium smelter, operating at most two potlines, to raise economic growth to over 4.5 percent.

The corresponding total peak demand (excluding suppressed demand) and total transmission system peak would be between 2,500-2,736 MW.

According to experts, over 30 percent of all energy used by cities is used in street lighting. Street Lighting has become one of the key necessities of our daily life activities, especially at night. However, it is one of the vampires in our energy use. Rising energy needs obliges investment in sustainable and clean energy production and use.

Due to the high demand on the national grid there is the need to diversify the country’s energy system and supply. Such diversification would require energy efficient technologies and sources of energy that are independent of the national grid, such as solar power.

Ghana has a rising trend in street lights energy consumption. A consumption that has risen from 108 GWh in 2006 to 534 GWh in 2015.

Table 1: Electricity Consumption by Customer Class (GWh)

 

 

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

20151

Residential

2,022

1,997

2,168

2,275

2,483

2,527

2,819

3,060

2,772

2,437

Non-residential

790

802

876

924

966

1,199

1,549

1,532

1,529

1,532

Industrial2

3,592

2,687

2,963

2,951

3,174

3,901

4,153

4,435

4,681

4,144

Street lighting

108

101

132

144

254

296

369

445

540

534

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

6,512

5,587

6,139

6,294

6,878

7,922

8,890

9,472

9,522

8,646

1Provisional

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure A: Electricity Consumption by Customer Class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With per kWh tariff of 8.67US Cents, the energy consumption by the traditional street lights amounts to $46,297,000.00 USD annually.

Converting all existing traditional street lights into solar street light will mean that Ghana will save 534 GWh (6.17percent) of our energy and 46M USD annually.

 

Table 2 – Tariff Regime

                                         

Tariff Category

Tariff Band

PURC Approved Rates (GHp/kWh)

PURC Approved Rates (US Cents/kWh)

1st Tier

0-50

33.56

8.67

2nd Tier

51-300

67.33

17.40

3rd Tier

301-600

87.38

22.58

4th Tier

600+

97.09

25.09

 

Globally, traditional street lighting consumes about 159 TWh of electricity annually. A reduction of consumption by 50 percent would eliminate around 80 TWH of electricity consumption and avoid around 40 MtCO2 per year.

 

Yearly Consumption Cost of A Single Street Light Pole

Hours of Usage (hrs)

12

Wattage of Bulb (W)

400

Rate per kWh (USD)

0.0867

Consumption per day (kWh)

9.6

Consumption per year (kWh)

3,504

Cost per day (USD)

0.8323

Cost per year (USD)

303.8

 

Depending on the size of the city or the region’s services, the share of street lights on our electricity bills can vary between 5 percent to up to 60 percent.

It is for this reason that the need to adopt the use of solar energy to power streetlights remains an attractive venture.

Using solar for Public Street lighting creates the opportunities to reduce grid energy demand, possible financial savings from reduced electricity use and reduce related GHG emissions. Other benefits for the Government include Energy conservation and efficiency (i.e., reducing operation hours, the number of lights and power).

The possibility of harnessing the solar radiation to power streetlight is very viable since most part of Ghana receive sunshine throughout the year.

Installation of traditional lighting, which means tying your light fixtures to an electrical grid system, requires trenching and underground wiring. The process is lengthy, costly and inconvenient. Then, you costs associated with underground wiring, on-site transformers and electrical enclosures which are often greater than newly installed solar lights.

Additionally, if your project is in environmentally sensitive areas like wetlands, along a seashore, or in sensitive ecosystems, solar lights minimize the impact on nature by avoiding below-grade services and unsightly enclosures.

With commercial solar lighting systems, projects are self-contained and shovel ready. It typically takes only four to six weeks from initial inquiry to installation.

Regardless of whether you are installing new solar lighting or converting traditional to solar, you eliminate ongoing payments for electricity and you never have to worry about dumsor.

 

Maxmillian Kwarteng BSc, M.B.A., MIAENG

Energy and Environmental Manager

mkwarteng21@gmail.com