Mohammed Abass from our project partner WestfalenWIND travelled to Ghana to adjust and improve the PV-hybrid power system at the health facility in Kologo.
When putting research into practice, the reality often calls for adjustment of foregone planning. Just like other initiatives, the EnerSHelF project is undergoing constant evaluation, adjustments, and improvements. In our previous article, we described the process of training local enumerators to conduct quantitative interviews at health facilities across Ghana. Here, the training week was followed by a pilot study before the main survey at 200 health facilities started in July. The test run helped to identify any necessary changes in the questionnaire and survey design.
On the engineering side of the project, the solar-hybrid systems at the health facilities of our three pilot sites need constant checks to evaluate if they are running as planned. Many adjustments can be done remotely via sensors and software, which has been set-up by our technicians and researchers. However, certain work must be done at the site.
In November 2020, our partner WestfalenWIND travelled to Ghana to install a PV-hybrid power system at Kologo, Ghana. In March 2021, Mohammed Abass returned to the health facility to finish the set-up. In this article, he illustrates the necessity, application, and management of the system.
In Twi, one of the local languages in Ghana, dumsors are power cuts due to low voltage or high-energy demand. They happen frequently and can last for days or weeks. Dumsors impede the work progress of many companies and workplaces, especially health facilities, where electric power is needed the most. Sometimes, communities even must take turns to not overstrain the electricity grid. This is a huge problem for health centres, as they need cooling systems for their vaccines and other drugs that need to be stored at certain temperatures.
Interview with Mohammed Abass from WestfalenWIND. He talks about his role in the EnerSHelF project and the challenges they faced when setting up a Photovoltaic-hybrid system at the pilot site at Kologo.
You recently joined the EnerSHelF project through its industry partner WestfalenWIND. Can you tell a bit about your professional background and role within the project?
I completed my B.Sc. in Physics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, in 2012. In 2014, I came to Germany to do my master’s degree at University of Duisburg-Essen and now hold a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. My studies were based within the internationally oriented study program International Studies in Engineering (ISE) and I specialized in energy and environmental engineering.
My role within the EnerSHelF project is to assist in setting up a photovoltaic (PV)-hybrid system at the pilot site in Kologo, Ghana. Additionally, I help to promote user acceptance of PV systems as well as its optimal usage. That also entails to enhance the understanding of sustainable electricity generation across the community. I think that if you want to bring new things to places or people, it is important to create the right access. Encouragingly, I noticed that the acceptance for PV systems in Kologo is already very high. Another part of my role within the project is the documentation of the process of setting up the PV-hybrid system in Kologo.
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.