Solar-powered lighting and charging services are coming soon to families in central Ghana who still have no access to the electricity grid.
On July 28, the Hon. Dr Kwabena Donkor, Ghanaian Minister for Power, formally launched the rollout of a PayGo home solar power in the Assin district of Central region, Ghana. Starting with households in the area of Assin Sienchem, the first phase of the program will deliver power to over 100,000 households, with particular focus on Cocoa growing regions in Central, before being rolled out more widely.
“Solar power has the potential to make a tremendous difference to rural households that do not yet have access to the grid,” said Dr. Donkor, as he addressed the assembled local community. “The ability to bring power to households within months instead of the years it takes to build out the grid is testament to how new technology is changing the face of energy provision in Africa.”
To get an idea of how this system works, we take you back to 2012 and an Azuri Indigo Pay-As-You-Go campaign which was a Sustainia award winner. The technology was meant to bring clean lighting and mobile phone charging to villages which had no access to power. Take a look at this video.
This off-grid service has been designed by UK-based Azuri Technologies, and will be distributed by Oasis Africa Resources. Azuri Technologies is a commercial provider of PayGo solar home systems to rural off-grid communities, with the widest reach of any provider in sub Saharan Africa. The service provides four LED lights with mobile phone charging, a torch and a rechargeable radio. Oasis Africa Resources (OAR) is a wholly owned Ghanaian energy company with the aim of delivering improvements to power solutions in Ghana.
The system will be powered by a 10-watt solar panel. Efficient power consumption should allow all four lights to be used for eight hours nightly. What a concept, where either darkness or kerosene lanterns have previously been the standard. The Azuri press announcement adds that this technology will soon be followed by larger systems in 2016 that can offer additional capabilities including television and business services.
“We are working closely with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the AMCOFA District Cocoa Farmers Association as we launch in the Assin district,” said Mr. Isaac Kodom, CEO of Oasis Africa Resources Limited. “This is a solar service which is grounded in the community and will serve the region as a long-term solution to clean energy access.”
The solar technology will be sold in monthly instalments via Oasis, and customers will be provided supplied with a system and trained on how to use their energy efficiently. Telephone and home visits will also be provided to customers. Azuri PayGo will offer features like the HomeSmart power management system, which automatically displays power usage based on the customers needs.
As far as the payment side of the equation, the Azuri technology is integrated with MTN Mobile Money, allowing Oasis customers to make easy regular top-ups, either via their own Mobile Money accounts, or through a designated local agent.
“Making a success of distributed power in rural regions requires innovation and commitment at all levels, and here in Ghana we see strong partnerships”, added Azuri Technologies CEO Simon Bransfield-Garth.
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.