The solar sector in Ghana is growing, which increases the need for experts in this area. The renewable energy sector has been in development for over 50 years. Although there is a learning curve, there is still (technological) knowledge and expertise lacking in Ghana. Examples of this are the need for trained technicians, the development of manuals and knowledge on local manufacturing.
Renewable Energy Technology Transfer
Unfortunately, there is also knowledge lacking in the manufacturing side, since this is mainly done in other countries. At the moment, China is the top producer of solar products in the world which indicates their knowledge and expertise in this area. The Ghanaian government and the United Nations Development program noticed this gap to increase the renewable energy sector in Ghana and started a program. The program aims for a renewable energy technology transfer, to diffuse knowledge from China to Ghana.
Added Value of Training and Education
There are many barriers in Ghana to establish a good knowledge base for a well functioning solar sector. Firstly, there is a need for consumers and businesses to understand the costs and benefits of solar for an informed decision. Furthermore, there is a lack of human skills that are necessary for the solar sector to grow. Therefore, there is a significant added value of solar training programs. The programs are designed to effectively transfer information and practical skills on many aspects. Examples are how to correctly install and maintain solar systems, or how to distinguish between high and low quality products in the market. Whether it is to start a business or expand one, participants can benefit from training programs to strengthen their skills. For buyers of solar products, this is of great value. They rely on knowledgeable businesses and engineers to install reliable solar products and maintain them properly.
Solar Training Facilities
Several companies and NGOs which are active in the solar power sector now have training facilities in Ghana. A good example is the Deng Solar Training Centre in Accra, which is a cooperation between the Global Sustainable Energy Solutions of Australia and the department of Mechanical Engineering and Agriculture of KNUST (Kumasi).
Running a solar business requires not only technical knowledge, there is also a need for business and entrepreneurial skills. A good example is the solar training facilitator is the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Institute of Industrial Research (CSIIR-IIR), who offers a training program together with TELSOL. Their training focuses on the installation and maintenance of solar systems as well as entrepreneurship within the solar sector.
There are also governmental programs to facilitate the solar sector. The energy commission offers technical trainings for the design, installations and maintenance of solar systems (on and off-grid).
In addition to such training facilities, several solar companies offer inhouse training for future employees. Redavia is such a company. They offer training for people who wish to work for the company, and for entrepreneurs and community members.