SREP: Training of ECG, NEDCo technical staff on installing Solar PV systems starts


In line with the country’s Scaling up Renewable Energy Program (SREP), training of technical staff from the Electricity of Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) on the installation and commissioning of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems has kick-started at the Don Bosco Solar Training Center, Tema.

The overall objective of the training is to equip at least 180 technical staff of the Distribution Utilities with the necessary skills to enable them to verify the correct installation of the solar PV system and components and ensure that the grid integration is done by the technical standards.

Participants will therefore be trained in the basics of solar PV and battery and all other components: grid-tied inverters and network integration, protections and safety protocols.

Government in 2022 signed a grant agreement of US$69.88 million between itself, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), to implement the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP).

The objectives of the SREP Ghana are in line with the nation’s efforts to achieve the target of universal electrification by 2024 and increase renewable energy (RE) penetration to 10% in the generation mix by 2030.

The first component of the program looks at the development of renewable energy-based mini-grids and stand-alone solar home systems for rural off-grid communities where there is no electricity. Under this component, about 1,350 schools and 500 health centres in rural off-grid areas are targeted to benefit from stand-alone solar home systems, and about 70 communities across 9 Island districts will be electrified using renewable energy-based mini-grid systems.

Whilst the first component focuses on non-electrified rural areas, the second seeks to deploy net-metered solar PV systems for urban and peri-urban electricity consumers, hence the capacity building training.

Under the net-metered solar PV (NMPV) component, up to 12,000 net meters will be installed within the distribution networks of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo). Overall, 4,910 households, 6,001 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and 1,089 public buildings will benefit from this project.

The Deputy Project Coordinator for the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP) at the Energy Ministry, Ing. Seth Mahu, is confident that with the requisite skills, the technical staff will be able to assist the government in the implementation of the program.

He encouraged businesses especially Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of installing their own solar PV systems to reduce their energy cost and demand from the national grid.

“We are looking at the cost of energy to businesses, and we think one of the ways to improve the business climate is to encourage SMEs to be able to install their own solar PV systems and use that to reduce their energy demand from the national grid.

“Renewable energy solar comes with cost, but the sun itself is free. So, once they can invest in the solar system, the rest of the energy they capture for their use will be free from the sun. So what government is doing is to provide subsidy to both homes and businesses to be able to assess this new technology we are calling the solar NPV,” he said.

The Director of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the Energy Commission, Kofi Agyarko, noted that to sanitise the market and ensure that consumers are not flooded with substandard materials, over 100 international standards on solar PV and wind systems have been adopted by Ghana Standards Authority and about 3 Regulations on minimum efficiency performance labeling and standards for solar panels, batteries and inverters put in place by the Commission through the Ministry of Energy.

This is to ensure that the right solar PV products that meet minimum performance efficiency levels are being used under the NMPV Project to support its smooth implementation.

“This is something that is going to help Ghanaians to reduce their bills. These meters we are looking at benefiting around 12,000 people and the objective is to reduce the load on the grid by around 64 megawatts,” he assured.

The Energy Commission is the implementing agency of the NMPV Component under SREP.

For her part, the Deputy Head of Mission and Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland in Ghana, Dr. Haeberli Simone, said that the Ghana Solar Photovoltaic-based Net-Metering Project has real potential to positively support the economy and the people of Ghana alike, as Switzerland’s support under the SREP is meant to encourage SMEs and households to invest in solar installations on their premises.

“Switzerland and Ghana have been long-standing partners in the area of economic development cooperation and this project is a very good example of what we are doing together.

“That is always the aim; it should benefit the economy; it should benefit the people. So concretely in this project that has several financiers and several stakeholders, Switzerland is financing the net meters, the net metering component,” she said.

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