A team of German and Ghanaian researchers and technicians installed the equipment to collect meteorological data at the health facilties in Kumasi, Akwatia, and Kologo for the EnerSHelF project.
Report by Windmanagda Sawadogo, Samuel Guug, and Edmond Borteye
At the end of September, a team from University of Augsburg (UniA) and West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) met in Ghana to install Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) for the collection of meteorological data at the three pilot sites of the EnerSHelF project. Within the project, both partners collaborate in work package (WP) 3.2 under the lead of UniA to collect and evaluate in situ climate data (You can read interviews with both partners here and here). The aim of the WP is to forecast the key meteorological variables for solar power generation and consumption at the field sites. Thereby, WASCAL acts as an interface between the EnerSHelF project teams in Germany and local stakeholders, for instance, the Ghana Meteorological Agency. Furthermore, they are responsible to provide technical support in collecting and processing observational data from the local observatory networks. The installation of the AWS at the three field sites spread over a period of 14 days and the field trip’s schedule included a close engagement with local authorities, securing materials and civil works, as well as mounting of sensors and testing the installed equipment.
Interview with Sarah Rabe from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. She talks about her role in the project as a linkage between the different disciplines, ensuring an active exchange among the work packages throughout the research process.
Interdisciplinarity is at the core of the EnerSHelF project as different academic disciplines and industrial partners are involved. What is the purpose of this holistic approach?
The holistic approach arises almost automatically out of the project’s topic. The technological transition towards renewable energy – in this case solar energy through photovoltaics (PV) – can only work if the product is of high quality and adapted to the specific region. But even well-engineered technology is pointless if it is not usable for or accepted by the people who are supposed to adapt it. Therefore, one needs different disciplines like engineering, meteorology, and socio-economy to tackle a holistic problem like the energy self-sufficiency of health facilities.
Interview with Samer Chaaraoui from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, on the process of modeling photovoltaic systems. In cooperation with other members of the EnerSHelF project, he works on the mathematical representation of different effects and events that influence the operation of the system
When I searched for academic articles on solar
photovoltaic modeling and simulation, I have seen a lot of equations and
mathematical formulas. Can you explain in a more accessible way what modeling
of photovoltaic systems encompasses?
By modeling photovoltaic (PV) systems, we try to
find a mathematical representation of effects and events happening inside a PV
system. With this representation, we can simulate processes, such as the
conversion of solar radiation to electrical power, in order to estimate solar
yields – for instance for economic and ecological business case analyses.
Since the full representation of the real world is
not viable, we try to find mathematical representations which are simple enough
to be calculated quickly and are complex enough to give an acceptable result.
Therefore, it is especially important to validate modeling results with real
world measurements, to estimate the performance of the model.
You will find many approaches and equations, trying
to represent PV systems, which range from simple physical equations to more
complex methods. Each of these approaches result from different demands towards
the use case, usability, and accuracy of the model.
Interview with Dr. Kennedy Alatinga of the University for Development Studies on his involvement in the project as an associated partner. He explains his role in the quantitative and qualitative data collection in Ghana
You are an associated partner to the EnerSHelF project and involved in three work packages. Can you tell us about your role within these distinct packages?
I am the Country Project
Manager of EnerSHelF in charge of the socio-economic component of the project
in Ghana. In my position, I am involved in
developing survey instruments for data collection and analysis. Another
major task is to ensure that the project team gets ethical clearance from the
Ghana Health Service Ethical Review Committee for the project – which I already
How do you implement your tasks and areas of
leading the development of both qualitative and quantitative data collection
instruments. With these we plan to assess the impact of the institutional
framework – both in terms of prevailing technologies as well as socio-economic
conditions – on the decision-making behaviour of market actors regarding PV
Interview with Samantha Antonini from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences on her tasks within the EnerSHelF project. She unravels her role as a linkage between project partners, researchers, and donors and the affiliated administrative challenges.
Besides the academic research and technological challenges surrounding EnerSHelF, its administration is central for the smooth progression of the project. Can you explain your role within the project in this regard?
I am responsible for facilitating collaboration across multidisciplinary work packages and reporting the project status to our project leaders and donors. In doing so, my work entails a diverse field of activities: I monitor the progress of research activities, generate the necessary documentation, organize regular team meetings, and assist staff and scientists with creating protocols, reports and many more. I also provide support for operational, procurement and legal aspects.
Interview with Seyni Salack and Samuel Guug from WASCAL (West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) on how they collect meteorological data for the EnerSHelF project at the field sites in Ghana.
WASCAL is involved in WP 3.2, which aims to forecast the key meteorological variables for solar power generation and consumption at the field sites. How does WASCAL collaborate with the University of Augsburg within the work package?
In collaboration with the University of Augsburg (UniA), WASCAL provides technical support in collecting, processing, and analyzing observational data from the local observatory networks and pilot sites. It also acts as an interface between the EnerSHelF project teams in Germany and local stakeholders, for instance the Ghana Meteorological Agency. With this, we aim to foster synergies among the actors to achieve a seamless workflow.
Interview with Prof. Stefanie Meilinger from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. She explains the overall aim of work package 3 and how different data is used to optimize the operation of PV Solar solutions at health facilities in Ghana.
Work package 3 (WP 3) works on examining ways for the country- and sector specified optimization of PV solutions. What is the overall aim of this work package?
Briefly speaking, WP 3 and its sub work packages look at different factors that are influencing the operation of solar PV hybrid systems at the three selected health facilities. There are two strings of internal and external factors, which must be considered: The available solar resources and the demand for electricity. Our aim is to improve both data bases to enhance and optimize the PV solutions.
The data on solar resources depend on climatic factors and on weather conditions. This information is collected by looking at historical climate data and local measurements performed in Ghana by WP 3.2. The collected data is critical to forecast how much energy can be produced at what time. The measurements include both local solar radiation, temperatures, and other meteorological variables.
Interview with Prof. Thorsten Schneiders from Cologne University of Applied Sciences – project leader of EnerSHelF’s work package 3.1. He explains the importance of measuring the power demand and load structure to identify the appropriate technology for the implementation at the three health facilities in Ghana.
Work package 3 aims to improve the country- and sector-based forecast of solar power generation (PV) and consumption (health facilities). What is the specific aim of your work package 3.1 “Electricity demand of the Ghanaian Health Sector”?
supplement existing power supply systems with renewable energy sources, more
information about the power demand in a higher resolution is needed. Our aim is
to fill these information gaps by long-term measurements of power demand and
load structure at several medium-sized health facilities. In a second step, we
use the measurement data to derive a load model for Ghanaian health facilities,
which can generate synthetic load profiles as close to reality as possible. We
have observed that newly installed technology such as LED lights is sensitive
to voltage fluctuations occurring in Ghana. These power system transients
should also be qualified and quantified by means of the measurements in order
to identify the appropriate technology to implement at such sites.
Interview with Steven Denk from WestfalenWIND, project leader of EnerSHelF’s work package 2. He explains the importance of an easy and accessible communication to guide the users of the PV solar system at the three health facilities.
Work package 2 aims to promote user acceptance and sustainability of context-specific and marketable PV-based energy solutions. What does this mean in the local context of Ghana, can you explain?
This means that we will try to create an understanding
of electricity generation and consumption among the local population that gets
in touch with the system. To achieve this, we will choose a simple graphical
display, which will guide the users to ensure the optimal usage of solar power
in a comprehensible way.
Interview with Prof. Dr. Katja Bender and Callistus Agbaam from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. They explain, how work package 1 examines the Ghanaian political economy structure to understand processes that support or hamper the sustainable energy transition in the health and energy sectors.
Work package 1 aims to examine the
political economy of a sustainable energy transition in the Ghanaian health
sector. What are the specific aims of your work package?
aim of work package 1 (WP 1) is twofold. First, at the national level, we aim
to analyze the political economy structures that hinder or facilitate institutional
change towards a sustainable energy transition in the health and energy sectors.
By this, we seek to identify key decision makers or coalitions of change agents
and the corresponding decision-making processes or their influencing factors,
which have led to the emergence of the current institutional status quo.