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The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in coordination with its partners, is organizing a 3 day training of trainer’s workshop on solar thermal energy, taking place at the Koforidua Technical University in Ghana.
Solar radiation in West Africa is double as high in comparison to Middle European countries, however the use and dissemination is lagging behind due to many factors. In this sense, ECREEE in partnership with AEE – Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC) and Koforidua Technical University (KTU), are promoting this workshop with the purpose of contributing to the switch of the current paradigm of using fossil fuel based energy supply, to a renewable and sustainable energy supply system based on solar thermal.
Through its Solar Thermal Capacity Building and Demonstration Program (SOLTrain West Africa), the aim of ECREEE is to remove existing lack of awareness, political, technological and capacity related barriers, which restrict solar thermal energy deployment. Another objective is to contribute to increase the grid stability, save national power reserves and reduce significantly the stress on electric grids.
To the workshop, more and 30 institutions are represented as the training will cover an array of topics, providing theoretical and practical training, enabling the professionals to effectively design, build, install and improve solar thermal systems. These systems have many applications as they can be installed in hospitals, schools, industries, hotels, private use, etc.
As stated by Mr. Joarel Barros, communication officer at ECREEE, “such capacity building initiatives are highly important if the ultimate purpose is to convert kilobytes of information to Kilowatts of energy and let such energy transform people’s life for better, as it empowers them socially and economically”.
Prof. (Mrs) Smile Dzisi, Vice-Chancellor of KTU, recounted the issue of lack of qualified human resources needed for the sustainability of renewable energy systems in general and solar thermal in particular. She hinted that, the organization of the workshop was opportune to provide experts with both theoretical and practical knowledge in solar thermal systems and applications.
Mr. Rudolf Moschik, a representative of AEE INTEC, remarked the need to keep exploring sustainable sources to fulfil energy needs, taking to consideration that by 2050 the population in Africa will double to 2 Billion people, therefore there is an urgent need to switch from existing fossil based energy system to renewable and sustainable energy conversions.
A similar training just took place in Cabo Verde and Nigeria, where more than 60 professionals benefitted as they participated in the program. SOLTrain West Africa is financed by the Austrian Development Agency and the Spanish Cooperation.