Central University turns on solar plant
The Central University is set to increase its usage of solar energy as part of efforts to reduce the school’s spending on electricity.
The school started using electricity from solar at its Miotso Campus at Dawhenya, near Tema, this month and is now convinced that the resource was the best bet in cutting down its power bills.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Central University, Professor Bill Buenar Puplampu, disclosed this at the inauguration of a 401-kilowatt (KW) solar system last week.
The plant was built and installed by Yingli Namene West Africa, a solar provider, but funded by Ecoligo, a German-based firm that specialises in sourcing funds to support green technologies.
The total cost of the project was €445,000.
Explaining the rational behind the project, the vice-chancellor said the decision to add solar to the energy mix at the Miotso campus was to help reduce the increasing energy costs that the school was saddled with.
The Central University, he noted, was spending over GH¢1 million on power every year, something he described as unsustainable, given that power tariffs would not go down.
“Our lecture halls are always in use and we have to always power the lighting systems, public address systems and air conditioners. The cost in terms of the standard power grid has been incredible.
“The solution is simple; renewable energy and that is why we chose solar to try and cut down on cost of providing power to the university,” he said.
He said estimates showed that the school would make some savings by using solar.
Those savings, he noted, would help the university to provide additional infrastructure for students over the lifetime of the project.
The Managing Director of Yingli Namene West Africa, Mr Firmin Nkamleu Ngassam, noted that the company was playing its role to promote the use of solar in Ghana.
“We have been in the market since 2015. We believe that the environment is suitable for solar energy and the government is setting up the framework progressively and we are also trying to promote the use of solar,” he said.
He said although the entire campus was not off-grid, the university was prioritising solar energy which would help make some savings for the university.
He said using solar was relatively cheaper compared with consuming power from the national grid.
The Senior Marketing Manager of Ecoligo, Ms Emma Patmore, said the company covered the upfront costs of the solar system by funding each project through its crowdfinancing platform ecology investments in Germany.
“We also manage the installation and maintenance of each system in collaboration with our technical partners such as Yingli Namene West Africa.
“Our customers pay for the use of their solar systems through a payment plan which covers all maintenance and repair costs for the lifetime of the contract,” she said.
Ecoligo, she noted, provided a fully financed solar as a service solution which allowed customers to use clean energy while focusing on their core business.