Published: 24 Jan 2017 Source: University Relations Office (URO)
In order to help to ensure energy access, energy efficiency and renewable energy which are key challenges at the centre of the United Nations Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, an interactive online map has been created by Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with the cooperation of the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) from Burkina Faso and Association Repowermap.org of Switzerland.
The interactive online map has been created in Ghana and Burkina Faso. Anyone can view and add installations of the renewable energy transition near them. The initiative aims to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, particularly solar, wind and biogas in the two countries through awareness-creation and knowledge sharing.
The project themed “Promoting Renewable Energies in West Africa by Knowledge Exchange with Interactive Online Map” is supported by a grant provided by the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Fund (EREF), coordinated by the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), to create awareness and promote the use of renewable energy in the sub-region.
In Ghana the project is led by coordinators Dr. Richard Opoku and Mr. David Ato Quansah who collected technical data and took pictures with GIS information of over 140 renewable energy installations (mainly solar, wind and biogas) in Ghana and assisted in plotting them on an interactive online map. The features are such that anyone who has installed a renewable energy system can add it to the map. The visualization of these installations aims to provide inspiration for the use of renewable energies, and to facilitate information exchange regarding these technologies.
On the map, solar PV installations of various sizes and applications to water pumping, energy for domestic use, street lighting, refrigeration for selling chilled drinks in some off-grid communities, outdoor lighting for educational facilities, and water heaters in hotels are shown. In addition, biogas systems in some institutions were identified. One observation made as part of this project was that many of the users of the solar systems with capacities of 4 kW and more were utilising it for such uses as running pharmacy shops, private hospitals and clinics and for hotels.
Some of the users of the solar systems highlighted that the initial high investment needed to set up the system is preventing many people from having solar systems in their homes and institutions and that if financial institutions and banks could give soft loans to potential users, it will enable many more people to obtain the system. Representatives from a local company, 3SIL, which produces solar panels in Ghana, noted that local production of some components of the solar system would help reduce the overall investment cost of such systems.
Mr. Roman Bolliger from Association Repowermap stated that the long-term vision of the Repowermap.org initiative was to make visible on the map renewable energy installations in the neighbourhood of each person to encourage and provide inspiration for sustainable energy use with local examples.
To view the interactive online map visit: https://mech.knust.edu.gh/research-collaborations/re-power-map