OBUOHO JOINS SUNHUT NETWORK OF VILLAGES!
The bedrock of any successful society is the human resource. Critical to the effectiveness of these human resources in impacting positively to the society and its environment is a functional educational system to impact useful and timely knowledge and skills needed to sustain the economic as well as social structures of the society.
To give a solid educational foundation, it is important that from an early age, the child is provided with all is needed to facilitate the learning process. One such important component in the mix of measures to achieve this purpose of facilitation is the ability to extend the learning process into the night where it is usually conducive and when it is likely the child is rested after spending the day at school and helping the parents out after school hours. It is worthy to note that most school going children living in remote areas often lack access to adequate lighting at night and hence are limited only to the day in undertaking any learning related activity such as reading. Learning at night therefore becomes a luxury for which few children from well to do homes can afford. A situation that undermines the very educational system that is so critical to the survival of the society.
The idea behind the “light a dream” initiative is therefore to plug this missing component in the process of facilitating learning at night by school going children in rural villages that lack access to electricity from the national grid.
HOW IT WORKS
· A room of suitable size, preferably a classroom of a school (where there exist a school in the village) is adopted and lighted at night using solar lamps from sunset till a defined time when they will be required to go to sleep.
. The children will be required to register so as to be able to monitor effectively their numbers and plan adequately for increases in patronage
· A patron will be appointed to supervise the programme to ensure that the key goals of the programme which is providing a serene and lighted environment for learning are achieved.
· It will be fully funded by donor support and will be without any financial obligation on the part of the children or their guardians.
· The programme will hopefully evolve to include the provision of audiovisuals as an aid to attract the children as well as enhance the learning experience.
The programme is being championed by Sunhut Enterprise with support from Villageboom GMBH.
The little evidence available indicates that the poor are often the last to benefit from increased access to energy. In most countries, the rural poor tend to be overlooked because private operators are reluctant to serve low-income clients given that these markets are not financially viable on a freestanding basis.”
(World Bank 2003)
Deploying solar PV (Photo Voltaic) and lantern services for remote communities, addresses the use of off grid electricity to enhance the social and economic development of the community. This can be achieved by developing partnerships with appropriate regional and national organizations plus funding agencies, and carrying out work on specific applications of interest and relevant business models.
PV services can help in improving essential energy service to communities especially those far from the reach of grid electricity. The government including other stakeholders can
play an important role in providing solar PV and lantern services, focusing on quality assurance, reliable information and education. Donor bodies can also play an indirect but important role.
Photovoltaics, and other renewable energy technologies, can significantly contribute to economic and social development. About 1.5 billion people worldwide, many of whom live in isolated areas, still do not have access to electricity or to clean water, primary health care, education and other basic services, all of which are largely dependent on access to electricity.
Ghana has many remote communities who are yet to have access to the grid electricity the government is operating.
Tackling these issues is an essential part to economic and social development. PV services is a project focused on bringing one of the essential use of electricity to our remote communities which is lighting.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and UN organizations, 1.5 billion people on the globe still lack access to basic electricity services. Most of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia countries. Many of whom live in isolated areas, still do not have access to electricity or to clean water, primary health care, education and other basic services, all of which are largely dependent on access to electricity. In the context of no access to the electricity grid, off-grid energy systems have been promoted by several stakeholders as a remedy for the energy poverty in these regions.
Why Solar lantern?
Solar technology has the advantage of being not only environmentally friendly but cheaper to operate. Mostly the reasons people need electricity in their homes are; i) for lighting ii) for charging mobile phones and other low wattage applications. lighting is their highest priority. Considering the economic situations of households in the remote communities, provision of durable and affordable solar lantern will serve their major purpose for electricity.
Lesson learned from deploying solar lantern to households
Since the use of PV and solar lantern systems, they have gained some successes and the level of competence required for the operation and maintenance of PV systems is essential. Consequently many projects failed and PV often received a bad reputation. A key lesson is that the institutional setting of the project and the long-term commitment of the stakeholders which are vital for the success of the PV and lantern project. The technology usually gives fewer headaches [Finucane, 2010].
The Solar Energy Institute of Madrid University has a dataset on field performance of 50,000 of solar home systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The data reveal that reliability and appropriate sizing are the main challenge to the use of solar lanterns and PV systems.
Ensuring proper quality of the products and educating the future users on the benefits of replacing their dirty kerosene-burning lights, candles and throw away batteries are major tasks. The preferences of these users are clear: the system should give a bright light, be affordable, portable, easy to use, safe and secure and have a long battery life.
Marketing model for solar lanterns
Considering the purchasing limitation of the rural poor, the following approaches are followed to ensure easy access to the product for all levels of livelihood.
Cash: The consumer pays for and receives the lantern. On completion, ownership is transferred to the consumer.
Credit: The consumer receives the lantern and pays regular instalments plus possibly a down payment.
Leasing: The consumer is allowed to use the system and pays regular instalments. Initially, the company owns the system. Later, once the system is fully paid for by the consumer, the ownership is transferred.
Fee-for-Service (Renting): The consumer is allowed to use the system that is owned by the company. The system is returned after period of service.
SUNHUT MISSIONARY STATION RENTING PROGRAM
Solar technology is a standalone technology which provides a cheap to operate, environmentally friendly electrical energy solution to rural communities. Surveys conducted by Sunhut enterprise in the villages of operation, revealed that electrical energy is mostly used in lighting at night and the predominant means of achieving this is by the use of battery (disposable) operated lamps. In isolated instances kerosene lanterns are used for lighting at night.
Photovoltaic products available on the market has the capability to power the entire spectrum of electronic home appliances available. It is arguable that, the high capital cost of acquiring a solar electrical system for high capacity purposes is a de-motivating factor militating against its adoption by rural community dwellers who mostly fall within the low income earning bracket. It can however be equally argued that, once the benefits of the technology is understood, any expenditure made in respect of it by rural dwellers will be regarded as an investment. The challenge therefore is making available the technology to rural dwellers to experience long enough to conclude on the benefits and the economic propriety of investing in it whilst availing to them appropriate payment mechanisms for them to acquire their own.
To achieve this, Sunhut missionary station (SMS) renting services offer for renting, villageboom solar lamps( visit villageboom.com for information on the lamps) to rural communities with aim of facilitating the mass adoption of solar as the preferred source of electrical energy. This assigned role of the program defines the missionary name given to the station.
HOW THE PROGRAMME WORKS
The programme involves the collective participation of key stakeholders including the customers, Sunhut enterprise, the agent, the station supervisor and most importantly the entire community. These stakeholders play varying roles to make sure that the lamps are always in the right condition to serve the needs of the customers. Customers lease the lamps on a daily basis in the evening when the lamps are fully charged at a current charge of 30Gp (0.08$ or 8 Us cents) per night and return it the following morning after usage for recharge. This process allow our trained agent to monitor the condition of the lamps on a daily basis, enabling an early detection of developing faults or misuse for early remedy, helping to prolong the life span of the lamps. Outlined below are the various roles.
1. Lamp must function for the full operational hours as specified on the lamp manual without which the lamp must be returned and compensation arranged with agent.
2. Cost of renting per day is jointly decided by Sunhut Enterprise and the station agent with periodic review.Payment must be made before access to the lamps either on a daily or negotiated periodic basis with the agent.
3. Means of acquiring the lamps on a daily basis can be arranged with the agent.
4. The cost of repair due to any physical damage incurred during period of renting will be covered by guarantee for the first time. The customer on repetition will however bear the cost, failure of which the customer will be permanently denied access to the programme. This does not include any electrical damage such as inability of lamp to function to specification.
1. Is a resident of the community.
2. Is a direct employee of Sunhut Enterprise and the local custodian of the housing structure and the lamps who must ensure that at all times the location of the lamps are accounted for by recording lamp movements and other pertinent data in a log book. Such information is summarised into a monthly report for the perusal of sunhut enterprise for planning and maintenance purposes.
3. The agent is allowed to run auxiliary phone charging with the solar panels as a personal business.
4. The agent must ensure that the lamps are properly charged before they are distributed to the customers.
5. Best means of distributing and recovering the lamps is arranged with the customer.
1. Is a permanent resident of the community and ideally an opinion leader in the community.
2. Serves as the local partner of Sunhut Enterprise with duty of ensuring that all stakeholders play their required roles and is assigned the role of arbiter in times of disputes.
3. Offers the opinion of the community in matters affecting the program and advice Sunhut Enterprise on policies which best serve the goals of the program including the pricing policy.
1. The community is requested to assist in guaranteeing the security of the structure and the lamps and through the station supervisor, provide feedback and suggestions on how to make the programme more beneficial.
1. Conducts a monthly maintainance programme to ensure that all lamps are functioning fully to specification.
2. In collaboration with the agent decide on the pricing.
3. Conduct surveys to ascertain if the goals of the programme are met.
4. Prescribe policies to ensure the smooth running of the programme as informed by the results of the surveys.
5. Provide lamps to meet demand as informed by agents report.
The combination of the efforts of all these stakeholders will result in functioning lamps serving the rural community.
• Total acceptance of solar lamps by all village households, elimination of kerosene lamp users and an increasing demand curve as witnessed in the two communities of operation.
• Improved lighting with positive impact on education of school pupils.
• Cost savings on amount spent on buying disposable batteries and kerosene . It cost an average of 12ghc ( 3$) to operate a disposable battery operated lamp in a month for a household and 17ghc ( 4.2$) to operate a kerosene lamp . Whilst it cost 9ghc (2.2$ ) to rent the lamps for a month. Leaving customers a saving of 3ghc (0.8$) per lamp and in the case of kerosene lamp users an average of 8ghc (2$) per kerosene lamp at an exchange rate of 4 ghc to a dollar. It is worthy to note that the relatively high lumen of the villageboom lamps means a single lamp can serve the purpose of two of the traditional brands of lamp commonly used in these villages thereby reducing further the overall savings, since most households use more than one of these traditional disposable battery operated brands and in some cases three. These savings most likely will eventually be channeled into purchasing solar lamps or into other equally important investments. The trend in sales of the lamps in Duodukrom is gradually supporting this theory.
• Increased productivity from the use of lamps in the evenings and early morning for commercial activities.
SUNHUT COCOA FARMING PROJECT( more to follow soon)
We are keen to working with you so join us and let’s be of relevance to our remote communities. We welcome partnerships in support of these projects and contribution of resources which will be of relevance to our course, as a supplier of technology, investor or any other relevant role. We encourage potential investors to adopt communities where in collaboration with Sunhut Enterprise, these projects will be situated for the benefit of the community. These projects hold prospects of being viable long term investment instrument and a worthy cause towards maintaining a sustainable environment. Government agencies and policy makers are also welcomed.