Government Support Is Essential For Solar Lighting
Government support is critical to enable the rural areas, which are not connected to the electricity grid to be served with solar lighting systems. Currently, solar pvc usage is less than one per cent.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the sidelines of the on-going Lighting Africa 2008, first global business conference and Development Marketplace Competition for off-grid lighting in Accra, Mr Fred Boosten, Chairman of Deng, a solar engineering company, said a deliberate government policy was necessary if off-grid lighting was to succeed.
He said what the sector needed most was proactive government policies such as waiver of taxes on solar components to bring the cost of installation of such systems down to enable more people to have access.
According to him, such policies would whip up the public interest in the use of solar systems and also promote access of consumers to different types of solar products.
Currently, over 3,000 communities have so far been connected to the national electricity grid under the National Electrification Scheme initiated some 20 years ago, bringing electricity access to 56 per cent of the people.
Mr Boosten said solar energy provided the solutions to meet the health and education needs of the population in the rural communities who had no access to electricity.
Dr Ofosu Ahenkora, Executive Secretary of Energy Commission, said it was important that the various lighting initiatives and affordable technologies were taken seriously to provide light to people in the rural communities.
He said the Commission was seeking legal backing for its policy on renewal energy to promote the use of efficient off-grid alternatives.
Lighting Africa 2008 Global Business Conference was underway in Accra aimed to develop appropriate and viable business models for delivering modern, clean and safe non-fuel based off-grid lighting solutions.
Global players from the lighting industry, international and domestic financial institutions, private developers, government agencies, non-governmental organisations and international and bilateral development agencies are attending the conference.