How Meteorological Data is used in the EnerSHelF Project

Interview with Prof. Harald Kunstmann and Dr. Windmanadga Sawadogo from University of Augsburg. They explain, how work package 3.2 uses the analysis of meteorological data to select the best configuration for the solar power generation at the three selected health facilties.

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 “High resolution energy meteorological forecasts for Ghana”?

Our working group aims to forecast the key meteorological variables for solar power generation and consumption at the field sites. That includes for instance solar irradiation and air temperature.

How do you address this, what activities have you already started to implement the necessary measurements?

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A Visualization of EnerSHelF’s Work Packages and Involved Partners

The EnerSHelF project is an interdisciplinary research group with multiple partners in academia and industry – highlighting the complexity of its underlying processes. This complexity ensures the coverage of technical, economic and political questions sufficiently and equivalently. We created the graph below to show you the different work packages (WP) and partners which are included in the EnerSHelf project. You can find a detailed description of each partner here. During the upcoming weeks, we are going to present each work package with an initial interview to highlight and introduce each groups’ research foci.

Health Facilities Locations for the Installation of PV Solar Panels and Measurement Equipment of the Project Set

The EnerSHelF project foresees the installation of measurement equipment related to the use of solar PV energy in health facilities in three locations throughout the country. At this stage of the project, the locations of the three health facilities were set. The three health facilities differ in the number of beds for patients and the health service offered. Hospitals have more beds and offer more services than health centres.

The St. Michael’s Hospital and the St. Dominic Hospital are in the “Deciduous Forest” climatic zone, which is warm and humid. The Kologo Health Centre is in the “Guinea Savannah” climate zone, which is hot and dry.

The geographical distribution in different climate zones will allow the acquisition of various data during field experiments. Technical field measurements will be carried out to collect real measured profiles of electrical load and supply of facilities, as well as weather data.

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A Project on the Move: EnerSHelF

A shipment of equipment vital to the EnerSHelF project left port in Hamburg on 2 January 2020 scheduled to arrive at our project partner WASCAL located in Tema, Ghana on February 17 February 2020.

Held within the walls of the shipping container lie high tech measurement tools, that the project team will carefully set up and monitor in three project locations throughout Ghana. The equipment, which the German project partners WestfalenWind and University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhine-Sieg meticulously packed and inspected in Paderborn on the 12th of December, will allow the collection of location specific weather and energy requirement data.

Packing of the shipment container in Paderborn © Silvan Rummeny

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Inception Week

EnerSHelF kicks off with a rewarding meeting of partners in Accra, Ghana

Constructive conversation, new perspectives, and enriching encounters – the first meeting of minds between the partners of EnerSHelF proved to be fruitful for everyone.

Representatives of the 11 partners of the EnerSHelF project convened in the Ghanaian capital of Accra for three days of intensive exchange and joint learning. Following a warm introduction, thematic teams jumped into planning sessions, ranging from the implementation of field experiments in different geographical areas to issues of market strategy & transfer and political economy.

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Africa’s Energy Revolution

Sub-Saharan Africa is a region of vast opportunity and potential. With African energy demand predicted to grow twice as fast as the global average over the next two decades, Africa faces unique challenges in meeting this demand (International Energy Agency (IEA), 2019).

The growing weight of Africa’s energy needs are often felt when electricity consumption surpasses supply, leading to blackouts hampering production. These outages, also called “dumsor” in Ghana have become a familiar occurrence for many Africans, as they grapple without access to power for several hours daily.

In Search of High-Powered Solutions

In Ghana, these occurrences pose a severe burden to the healthcare sector, as for example, the cold chain for required vaccines and blood supply may be cut, the light in the operating room may go out or life-saving medical equipment may fail. With the continent having the richest solar resources on the planet, photovoltaic (PV) power, which harnesses energy from sunlight, could be the driver of future energy growth.

However, the PV market in Ghana requires further expansion and innovation, if it is to keep pace with the country’s accelerating demand for energy. According to the World Bank, only 3% of the population can currently access PV power through off-grid systems in West Africa and the Sahel (World Bank, 2017). Innovative solutions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy and health access.

Photo Credit: Axel Fassio, CIFOR

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