Feasibility of using solar Pv and light emitting diodes (Leds) for street-lights in Ghana: A case study of Wenchi Municipality

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Most of the street lights in Ghana uses high pressure sodium vapor lamps and bulbs running from the national grid to light the street. The streetlight energy consumption in Ghana rose from 31 GWh in 2000 to 274 GWh in 2011 which translate to about $32,880,000 using an end user tariff of $0.12 /kWh. Even though there has been a steady and systematic increase in electricity rates over the years, the current street lighting levy of 0. 5% per unit electricity consumed by customer and government subsidy of 1.7% is not adequate to cover the payment of maintenance and the energy bills due to street lights. The main purpose of this research is to determine the technical possibilities and benefits of using Solar Energy through the combination of photovoltaic cells and Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights to power streetlights in Ghana. The cost involved in purchasing the equipment and maintaining a solar-powered/LED system are linked with the cost of using electricity to run grid connected street lights. The project concentrated on the feasibility of using solar energy to power the lights in the area surrounding Wenchi Municipal Assembly. The findings had to be consistent with merit of converting new areas to independent solar powered lighting and Light Emitting Diode (LED) systems. An economic analysis is also conducted to determine if the project is cost effective. The project also considered the amount of savings in the form of energy, Greenhouse Gas emission reduction the technology would bring if found to be technically viable. The research found out that though the initial cost of implementing the solar street light is higher than the traditional street lights, the final result in the long run makes the technology viable. The research considered 300 lamps and concluded that after 25 years of uses, solar street lights additionally makes savings at the end of the design life alongside the savings of energy for the national grid. The project pays for itself at the end of the seventh (7) year. It also saves the environment by preventing 2,312 tons of CO2 that would have been produced by the grid connected street lights.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE. 2014