Isolated from the bustling urban areas of the country, rural Ghana has long suffered from biting electricity shortages. Small towns labour under flickering and inefficient street lighting, while farming communities are plunged into stifling darkness as the sun goes down. Yet the installation of some 20,000 solar-powered streetlights across the country is helping to turn the tide, extending economic activity and security for citizens beyond the daylight hours.
The source of this technological transformation can be found in a new factory launched in Kpone by Strategic Power Solutions, a subsidiary of 3SiL. The Ghanaian company--which serves its home market and the wider West African market, launched the ultramodern plant in March to take advantage of the vast potential in the African solar market. According to Global Markets Insights, a US market research firm, the African market for photovoltaic solar is expected to expand by 10% over the next eight years as governments encourage the spread of renewable technologies.
Meanwhile, Ghana is in need of new solutions to end persistent power shortfalls. Power Africa, the US initiative to improve generation on the continent, estimates that the country's "unreliable and inadequate" power supply only amounts to around 2000MW of generation capacity. Policymakers, including African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina, have targeted Africa's power deficit as one of the major challenges facing the continent this century. Yet there are few known and reliable solar power solutions available on the continent and most of them offer products that are imported. With the usually unstable nature of the Ghanaian cedi, such products are often priced out of the reach of the ordinary Ghanaian.
In a bid to respond to the challenge, the state-of-the-art factory in Tema, launched by dignitaries including former president John Kufuor, has...