Photovoltaics is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct electrical current using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. It employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing photovoltaic materials in power generation.
The Chief Representative of JICA, Mr Jiro Inamura, initialled the MoU for his agency, while the Director of Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Mr Wisdom Ahiataku-Togobo, signed for the ministry.
The signing of the MoU formed part of the implementation of a human resource development programme for disseminating photovoltaic solar energy in the country. At the ceremony, JICA also handed over training materials for the dissemination process to the ministry.
The implementation process, which began in February 2008, has seen the Energy Centre of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the Tamale Polytechnic being provided with basic teaching equipment for testing and certification of solar PV components.
Stakeholder institutions, such as the Energy Commission, the Ghana Standards Board (GSB), the Koforidua Polytechnic and some selected district assemblies, have all benefited from the project.
Speaking at a capacity workshop to herald the MoU, Mr Inamura indicated that the co-operation and relationship among stakeholder institutions had impacted fruitfully on the project since its inception.
He indicated that 24 districts in the country had so far benefited from the project, which began on a pilot basis, with selected people in beneficiary communities being introduced to business schemes as a way for ensuring an overall maintenance of the solar PV systems.
Mr Inamura called on beneficiary communities to better maintain the systems using business modules as a way of elongating their lifespan.
He also charged the ministry to intensify its monitoring over performance of the sites and expressed the hope that beneficiaries would effectively make strides in contributing to a successful PV industry in the country.
Mr Ahiataku-Togobo, for his part, indicated that some 36 solar PV agents had been trained nation-wide, in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Solar Industries (AGSI), to consolidate gains in the sector.
According to him, the training materials presented by JICA were, therefore, to complement the ministry’s efforts at building the capacity of students in their field of study.
He announced that communities that were not likely to be connected to the national electricity grid would be provided with the solar PV and other alternative energy sources until such a time when power would be supplied from the national grid .
“The materials will be useful for the photovoltaic solar energy industry, the Energy Commission and the GSB to ensure adherence to regulations and standards in order to minimise the influx of inferior products into the country,” he said.
He gave the assurance that the ministry was committed to ensuring access to modern energy services for every community nation-wide by 2020.