BeBa Africa, a German solar company operating in Ghana, has advised companies to invest more in solar energy in the face of high electricity costs as it is a major determinant of economic prosperity.
Ghana’s power sector has over the past two decades been plagued with power supply challenges, resulting in a considerable impact on economic life in the country.
The World Bank ranks electricity supply as the second most important constraint to business activities in the country, and estimates that Ghana lost about 1.8 percent of GDP during the 2007 power crisis.
It is in this regard that BeBa Africa has advised companies to move away from the use of high-cost electricity to cheaper renewable energy sources.
In an interview with the B&FT, Michael Ball, Founder & Managing Director-BeBa Africa, said the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) on a quarterly basis engages Ghanaian businesses about their major challenges in their businesses, and for quite some time now it’s been the high cost of electricity that features as the number-one challenge for industry – especially for those in the manufacturing sector.
He added: “Low electricity costs help business competitiveness nationally and also internationally, so I think it’s a great win for companies to switch to solar because that can really add value”.
According to him, one of the stumbling blocks for the implementation of solar is basically financing.
Mr. Ball stressed that companies often do not have access to competitive and affordable financing. “However, we can make a difference here by not only offering technical solutions, but also providing access to dedicated financing; so, basically, we can provide solar installations without any upfront investment from companies. They get their costs-saving from day one,” he added. Among others, BeBa Africa has a partnership with Empower New Energy from Norway, an impact fund manager investing in small and medium-scale renewable energy projects in sub-Sharan Africa.
He further noted that the company’s focus is mainly on commercial and industrial customers, and its reason to set up in Ghana is that it sees great potential for solar here – as a means to reduce electricity costs for consumers.
“Among all on the African continent, Ghana is one of the countries with highest electricity costs on average; and again, I think solar is a proven technology; its readily available, it’s affordable, and it can really help companies reduce their electricity bills,” he added.
The ease and simplicity of the installation means that it can be installed on available rooftop spaces, or alternatively on the ground. This aspect, along with the modularity and flexibility of the system, facilitates the installation of small-scale solar projects with the added advantage that the installation can be expanded, depending on needs at any given time.
Another interesting advantage of solar is its ability to provide electricity in remote locations, where the cost of installing electrical distribution lines is too high or unfeasible.
BeBa Africa is partnering locally with a very strong established, well-reputed Ghanaian solar company, Tino Solutions, to ensure they are locally engaged with businesses and to leave a local footprint. BeBa Africa recently completed a 360 kWp solar rooftop installation for HPW Fresh & Dry at Adeiso, in the Eastern Region.