The Ministry of Energy is formulating a solar energy policy framework that will shift emphasis from the use of fossil fuel such as kerosene to solar energy as the main source for lighting households in rural areas.
This is because apart from its effects on the environment and the hazard posed by smoke emission, fossil fuel can be depleted while solar energy is sustainable for use especially in this country, where sunlight is in abundance.
The Ministry has, therefore, called on reputable companies researching into the use of solar energy to contribute to the drafting of the policy to ensure that solar lighting solutions are affordable and sustainable.
The Deputy Minister for Energy, Dr Kwabena Donkor, announced this when Philips, based in Holland, in collaboration with some representatives from the private sector, presented some of their solar lightning products to the Ministry of Energy for use under a pilot scheme in the Northern and Upper East Regions.
The solar lightning systems includes Solar Urday lantern, which has the capacity to provide 250 lumens, the equivalent of light provided by 250 candles for 45 hours after it has been charged in a day in the sun, rewinding solar torch and reading light that can be used for other purposes.
The Deputy Minister explained that under the solar energy framework, preference will be given to reputable companies that conduct their research with local institutions so that the products can be serviced by Ghanians when they break down.
Mr Kees Klein Hessellink, Philips Business Development Manager for Middle East and Africa, said feedback from pilot areas in rural areas have suggested that the addition of a device on solar lighting systems can also be used to recharge mobile phones and these will be incorporated in the next generation solar lantern.
Mrs Harriette Amissah-Arthur, Director of Kumasi Institute of Technology Energy and Environment (KITE) said the overall objective is to contribute to improve living conditions by making solar lighting products and services accessible to people living in areas where there is no electicity.
Mr Frank Atta-Owusu, the project Manager of KITE,said it is cheaper to use the Urday lantern in the household than using kerosene lamps.