Following the successful manufacture and installation of its first solar kiosk in the country, Solarkiosk AG, a German company, says it intends to make the country a manufacturing hub of solar energy in the sub-region.
“Our plan is for Ghana to become the hub for West Africa. We have plans to go to Togo, Benin, Senegal, Ivory Coast and the entire sub region. All of these countries are neighbouring Ghana and since we are very satisfied with manufacturing quality, we believe this solution can be manufactured in Ghana and sent to other West African countries,” Andreas Spiess, CEO and Founder of Solarkiosk said.
Speaking to the B&FT at the launch of the first locally manufactured solar kiosk in Accra, Mr. Spies said his company has the capacity to contribute to the energy needs of the various sectors of the economy.
“The unit we just launched is made for productive use and can be used to electrify other nearby businesses. Aside from this, we are capable of producing to meet various needs of the Ghanaian market, including heavy consumers of power,” he added.
“It is a partnership; we sent our engineers, architects to build local capacity. This is because what we launched today is not simple. This is very sophisticated technology and involves a lot of knowledge transfer and capacity building. We had to integrate the technology into the manufacturing and the final product meets our standards,” he said.
The project was funded by the German DFIDeutseche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG). The kiosk is located in Jamestown, Accra, and brings to 11 the total number of solar kiosks installed by the company in the country.
Before the Jamestown kiosk, the others had their components imported.
Mr. Spiess further explained that setting up in the country will help in making the solution more affordable since it will eliminate cost arising from importation and other associated charges.
“We have greater confidence in the local manufacturing capacity and the entire Ghanaian team. As a German, I never ever promise something that I won’t do. So we keep a low profile and we get the job done first and after, we do the talking. We are proud of what we launched today and believe that Ghana can be our hub in West Africa,” he added.
Currently, the country is faced with a shortfall in power supply as demand continues to swell whilst supply is hampered by financial and technical lapses. The situation is even expected to worsen in the coming years if robust measures are not put in place.
While solar energy has long been seen as an alternative to currently erratic hydro and thermal power systems, high initial cost and lack of policy ambition have hindered its development. Solarkiosk AG is expected to create jobs and support the growth of the economy by providing bespoke power solutions to companies, particularly SMEs and rural businesses.
“We are very proud of the social and environmental impact we are making. We want to demonstrate to businesses in a number of sectors, including SMEs and financial institutions, that this solution can be adopted and modified to suit their needs,” Patricia Safo, Managing Director of JCS Investments and Solarkiosk Ghana said.