Supply chain management can transform the solar sector

OforiBoateng_100.jpgOn the back of heavy electricity load shedding across South Africa in February and March 2019, the potential of solar energy has been widely discussed.

The fact is that Africa receives more hours of bright sunshine than any other continent on Earth.

The Department of Energy reports that South Africa averages more than 2 500 hours of sunshine per year − average solar-radiation levels range between 4.5kWh and 6.5kWh per square metre in a single day.

Interestingly, Ghana receives similar levels of sunshine per year as well as similar levels of solar radiation. Consequently, the country is pushing renewable energy and thus it is a rapidly growing market.

Ghana’s ambition is to generate 10% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, which would equate to approximately 500MW, enough to power about 100 000 households.

“It is a big task and supply chain management has a role to play in all of this” says Dr Ofori Boateng, CEO, Strategic Power Solutions (SPS).

“Achieving the development of sustainable, renewable or green energy in Ghana requires all stakeholders along the value chain to harness the power of supply chain management”, asserts Boateng.

SPS recently joined forces with PanAvest and Partners, a supply chain management firm, to improve supply chain know-how in the renewable energy sector. Boateng is of the firm view that without supply chain management, the hope of Ghana becoming the hub of renewable or green energy will not materialise.

“Renewable energy, and solar power in particular, has the potential to not only supply the country with clean, safe energy, but also to provide a solution to the environmental, social and economic hardships that are emerging as a result of the current global warming crisis. In order for the renewable energy sector to have a positive impact on sustainable development in Ghana, there needs to be strategic alignment with supply chain management best practice.”

To support this process of alignment, SPS – the largest Solar PV module manufacturers in West Africa – joined PanAvest and Partners in their latest skills development project that focuses on providing easy access to supply chain-related knowledge and information.

Their support of PanAvest and Partners’ skills development initiative, through the acquisition of PanAvest’s Compendium of Supply Chain Management Terms, highlights SPS’s commitment to providing renewable energy practitioners and professionals with the information they need to harness the power of supply chain management to grow the sustainable energy industry in Ghana and across Africa.

The growth of renewable energy opportunities is on Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s agenda, with government recently committing to increasing the contribution of solar power to the country’s energy mix. Renewable energy currently contributes approximately 1% to the country’s power generation mix, with the Ministry of Energy seeking to increase this to 10% by 2030.

Boateng points out that solar power is one of the few renewable energy sources – it replenishes itself, doesn’t run out like fossil fuels, coal or other non-renewable energy sources, and helps to reduce ozone layer depletion and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Solar energy has been at the forefront of energy development during recent years, but has struggled to take off in Sub-Saharan Africa, owing to a lack of knowledge and funds to invest properly in the sector”, notes Boateng.

“Increased knowledge and effective use of supply and value chain principles will allow this sector to grow its influence and improve its service delivery quality, while, at the same time, positively contributing towards reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and environmentally unsustainable energy sources.”

SPS abides by the triple bottom line of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) and believes that clean energy development is key to promoting sustainable economic growth and the global transition towards a low-carbon environment.

PanAvest and Partners’ CEO, Prof. Douglas Boateng, commended SPS’s commitment to driving sustainable energy practices and sustainable development in Ghana. He notes that “SPS is a leading voice in renewable energy development in Ghana and Western Africa. Their willingness to invest in the growth of supply chain know-how in their industry highlights their commitment to supporting government’s renewable energy growth ambitions – which not only provide opportunities for job creation and socio-economic development in the country, but also support green energy and climate change reduction efforts”.

Adapted from B&FT Online

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