British Minister calls for solar revolution across Ghana

Mr Grant Shapps, United Kingdom Minister of State for International Development, is on a visit to Ghana this week to spearhead the next phase of the UK’s new Energy Africa campaign.

A statement issued by Abigail Foaty, Communications Officer, Political and Public Affairs Section, British High Commission, and copied to the Ghana News Agency said; speaking on arrival, Grant Shapps said: “The time is right to kick-start a solar revolution in Ghana and across Africa. It is not acceptable that two out of three people in Africa simply do not have access to electricity.

“Without a reliable energy supply at home people simply cannot go about their daily lives. Children cannot do their homework after dark, men and women are unable to charge their mobile phones, and families are forced to inhale the toxic fumes of kerosene lamps.

“I look forward to working with the people of Ghana to spread solar energy right across the country, and hope the rest of Africa follows their lead in supporting the life-changing Energy Africa campaign.”

The statement said at the current rate, Africa would not achieve universal energy access until 2080; which is 200 years after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.

“And the time to act is now: the cost of solar photovoltaic panels has dramatically decreased, battery technology has improved thanks to the development of Lithium batteries, the efficiency of appliances has also improved, and the spread of mobile payment systems has enabled payment through micro pay-as-you-go and for solar companies to therefore deliver much needed power,” it said.

The statement said Minister Grant Shapps would also join the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstove biennial meetings and meet other senior members of Ghana’s Government.

“While electricity access in Ghana is better than much of Sub-Saharan Africa, the country still suffers regular power cuts and outages that affect households and industry.

“Solar technology and mobile payment systems exist in Ghana, yet less than one per cent of households use solar energy,” it stated

It said during his visit the Minister would discuss Ghana’s involvement in the initiative with Dr Kwabena Donkor, Minister of Power and highlight opportunities for solar and other off-grid solutions, such as clean cookstoves, to provide energy to many more people across Ghana and wider Africa. GNA

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