Having had to study with a candle or portable rechargeable light a number of times when pursuing my undergraduate studies back home in Ghana got me curious about finding alternative sustainable and renewable energy sources for my school. Depending solely on hydroelectric power coupled with having to deal with old and energy-inefficient electrical appliances that did not meet international standards drained the electrical power of any capacity to meet the needs of students let alone the entire nation.
Ghana as a country is blessed to have long periods of sunshine. From Fig 1 in this paper by Opoku et al. (2020), it was realized that in the month of March (one of the sunniest if not the sunniest month of the year in Ghana), electricity consumption was about 2200 MWh in the 3 premiere universities. The paper mentioned that high power demand during peak hours of the day usually results in power fluctuations which then disrupt academic work. A study by Bouzarovski et al. (2013) on energy vulnerability among urban young adults in the UK discovered that in order to keep warm, do some schoolwork and in turn reduce their energy consumption, some students surveyed had developed the habit of spending most of their time on their respective campuses. This is equally applicable in Ghana where in order to do some schoolwork, students might want to escape power cuts at home and throng to school to study. If there isn’t sufficient power at school too what becomes of these students?
Recommendations of installing energy management devices, motion and occupancy sensors, periodic training / workshops on energy conservation, energy efficiency retrofitting as well as diversifying power supply by Opoku et al. (2020) I believe are steps in the right direction. Solar energy was also outlined as a competitive and sustainable energy supply as financial analysis revealed possibilities of electricity cost saving opportunities. I am encouraged that research has been done to unearth what issues underlie the energy poverty observed in the tertiary institutions. It’s my hope that this encourages other “energy enthusiastics” to join hands in helping find other renewable energy source alternatives from the natural resources Ghana is endowed with.
Opoku, R., Adjei, E. A., Ahadzie, D. K., & Agyarko, K. A. (2020). Energy efficiency, solar energy and cost saving opportunities in public tertiary institutions in developing countries: The case of KNUST, Ghana. Alexandria Engineering Journal. Retrieved April 16, 2020 from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1110016820300120
Richard Opoku, Eunice Akyereko Adjei, Divine Kwaku Ahadzie and Kofi A. Agyarko, "Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy & Cost Saving Opportunities In Public Tertiary Institutions in Developing Countries: The Case of KNUST, Ghana", contributed by Barbara Ackun, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 11 June 2020, accessed 1 March 2024. https://energyrights.info/content/energy-efficiency-solar-energy-cost-saving-opportunities-public-tertiary-institutions