German solar power manufacturer, Redavia, has unveiled a solar farm to provide about 0.5MW of renewable power to the Regional Maritime University, Accra.
The farm is expected to reduce significantly the energy bill of the university which currently spends at least US$50,000 on grid and other alternative means of power every month.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony over the weekend, the Vice-Chancellor of the school, Prof. Elvis Nyarko said the energy costs of the school was becoming unbearable and frustrating the school’s desire to even add more facilities and machinery to boost learning.
He stated that the school as a result of high rising energy cost was looked to renewable energy as a way of cutting down energy costs which was unsustainable and threaten the school’s overall operations.
“We have been dependent on diesel generators to supplement an on-grid connection for our campus and this has doubled the cost of electricity tariffs, putting significant strain on our utility budget. We have now turned to REDAVIA rental solar power to help reduce the cost of the electricity tariffs and provide the best possible university setting for our students at an affordable cost,” he said.
The first phase of the facility will see the school make savings of more than 20 percent of what it would have paid for power consumed. The facility in the first phase would provide 0.3MW solar power mostly during the day with the next phase of the project expected to raise the power to 0.5MW and ultimately ensure all day supply of solar power.
According to the Vice Chancellor, the university is currently working on a target of ensuring that it runs completely on renewable energy as it bids to eliminate the costly energy costs which come with running heavy engineering equipment to teach students.
The university, he said, has been granted approval by the National Accreditation Board to run an MSc in Renewable Energy Engineering and thus the school’s quest to venture depend on renewable energy would provide enough hands-on experience to students.
Speaking at the inauguration, Erwin Spolders, CEO & Founder of REDAVIA said the cost for REDAVIA solar power are transparent and affordable, eschewing upfront investment and just basing cost on a monthly rental fee.
“Once expanded with on-site energy storage, the solar farm will eliminate power grid outages that are currently impacting the University’s operations on a regular basis. In addition, the solar farm also leads to a notable reduction in carbon emissions from a lower consumption of grid power and on-site diesel power.
Last but not least, additional cost benefits will stem from net-metering where the solar farm is feeding the electricity surplus back into the national grid,” he added.
Apart from the solar farm, the CEO of REDAVIA said the company will support the introduction and establishment of a new educational track around renewable energy, by setting up a Renewable Energy Institute in collaboration with the RMU in Ghana.
“REDAVIA’s involvement will see ongoing knowledge transfer and staff support to help build the curriculum and practice lab with the aim to educate and prepare African students for engineering jobs in this sector, ensuring an ongoing sustainable development in Ghana,” Mr. Spolders added.