Maintaining EnerSHelF’s equipment in Ghana

Two men working on a solar panel installation

In late March, Rone Yousif from University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg travelled to Ghana to check and maintain the measurement instruments and solar setup. He was accompanied by Mohammed Abass from WestfalenWIND. Over the course of three weeks, they travelled to the three pilot sites and met with the Ghanian project partners. The following blogpost highlights the different steps of their journey to give the reader an understanding of the practical work in the field.

21 – 22 March: Getting to Ghana

After flying from Düsseldorf to Accra, they switched to a domestic airline to reach their first destination Kumasi. Here, they were staying at the Engineering Guest House on the campus of KNUST, which was organised by Prof. Emmanuel Ramde beforehand.

View from the window of a plan on Accra, Ghana
Domestic flight to Kumasi from Accra
View from plane window during the night
Arrival at night in Accra
Airplane at an airport
Airplane to Kumasi

23 – 25 March: Staying in Kumasi

In Kumasi, Rone Yousif met up with Edward Dodzi Amekah, who is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Emmanuel Ramde and the contact person for the installations at Saint Michael Hospital in Pramso, Kumasi. After travelling to this hospital, they met with the two technicians, Isaac Gyebi and Williams Aweni, in charge of the facility and discussed the project intention as well as inspected the installed equipment, checked its condition, and made adjustments to improve data quality and local security.

Areal view of a hospital
St. Michael Hospital in Pramso, Kumasi
From left to right: Isaac Gyebi, Williams Aweni, Mohammed Abass, Rone Yousif, and Edward Amekah
St. Michael hospital

Afterwards, they had a look at the weather station located there before meeting Dr. Emmanuel Ramde in his office on the campus of KNUST to talk about project’s activities. At the end of their stay in Kumasi, they flew back to Accra where they were picked up by Samuel Guug and the driver and were later welcomed in Akwatia by the engineers Daniel Mensah and Michael Tekpertey.

Rone Yousif and Prof. Emmanuel Ramde
Rone Yousif and Prof. Emmanuel Ramde
Automatic Weather Station
Automatic Weather Station

26 – 31 March: Working at the Saint Dominic Hospital in Akwatia

In Akwatia, they discussed the status of the project with Daniel and Michael and visited the Saint Dominic Hospital’s PV plant with a total output of 90kWp. Together, they inspected the installed equipment of the EnerSHelF project and talked about occurring problems and what adjustments have to be made. Additionally, insights into the load behaviour of the hospital and the electrical system were given based on the collected data. Finally, they removed the EconSens3 load measuring device at the hospital to be transferred to Kologo, where it will collect load data in the upcoming months.

View of a solar PV system on a rooftop
Solar PV system at Saint Dominic Hospital, Akwatia
Cloud camera next to a PV solar system
Cloud Camera at Saint Dominic Hospital
Two technical instruments hanging on a wall
Router and PQ Plus MMD 97 power analyser

During their stay at the Saint Dominic hospital, they met with Detmer Hasselmann from Ghanahilfe e.V., who is involved in many activities at the hospital and has close relations to the EnerSHelF project partner Cologne University of Applied Sciences, as well as with Fr. Abban, the head of the hospital. Another task at Saint Dominic was to adjust the router settings so that the load measurement data can be accessed remotely. Rone also adjusted the focus of the cloud camera and exchanged hard disks with measurement data to be brought back to Germany. Overall, they were successful in installing and maintaining the project’s equipment, however, the constant expansion of the hospital is an additional challenge as new consumers are connected during the process.

Six men standing on a street next to a hospital
From left to right: Daniel Mensah, Edward Amekah, Benjamin Anim, Samuel Guug, Rone Yousif, and Michael Tekpertey
Video from inside a car driving through a town
Driving through Akwatia

To visit the next field site in Kologo, they had to fly to Tamale where they continued by car to Bolgatanga to reach the Upper East Region. As Kologo is far off the larger cities or traffic routes, they had to commute from Bolgatanga to reach the health facility on a daily routine.

01 – 05 April: Visiting the Kologo Health Centre

At the health centre in Kologo, EnerSHelF installed a container with a PV battery hybrid system to supply the facility with electricity. When arriving at the project site, Rone Yousif, Mohammed Abass and Edward D. Amekah – who accompanied them on their visit – met up with Jacob Apah, who is taking care of the container and implements any changes during the absence of the EnerSHelF team. Together, they inspected the measuring equipment, reviewed the PV hybrid system, and discussed options to enhance the technical architecture. During their inspection, they discovered a partially defective transformer, which needs to be fixed by the responsible electricity grid operator. Additionally, they replaced a defective cloud camera, implemented new wiring on the input side of the container, changed the disks at the computer with the recorded data, and installed the EconSens3 load measuring device which was brought from Akwatia.

Three men standing in front of the solar container in Kologo
From left to right: Benjamin Amin, Rone Yousif, and Edward Amekah
View from inside a car, driving on a dirt road
Driving to Kologo
Health facility at Kologo with solar PV container and automatic weather station
Health facility at Kologo with solar PV container and automatic weather station
Different technical instruments inside a container
Inside the solar PV container

Unfortunately, the installed Voltcraft socket meters only partially collected usable data. For two of three meters, only corrupted files were found. After resetting the devices, they are now working correctly. After a day of monitoring the container to check the stability of the system after the adaptations, they left Kologo and headed back to Tamale.

06 – 12 April: Returning to Germany

In Tamale, they were welcomed at UDS campus by Prof. Felix Abagale, who is the Pro Vice Chancellor of UDS and a project partner of EnerSHelF. They had an exchange about their activities and discussed the upcoming steps. After staying in Accra for the last days of their trip, Rone Yousif returned to Germany via Paris while Mohammed Abass stayed in Ghana for a couple more days to wait for the arrival of new batteries for the PV container in Kologo.

Two men standing in an office
Rone Yousif and Prof. Felix Abagale
Two men sitting in an office
Rone Yousif and Edward Amekah