Distributed Renewable Energy Systems in Ghana – a Techno Economic study of Solar Home Systems

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Ghana’s urban population in the middle and high-income segments often seek electricity alternate power systems either as a solution in the face of power outages, or as a reliable second option. Some middle- and high-income household users seek to know what options there are, in relation to a second electricity source, and what the techno-economic implications could be. The study sought to assess the technical feasibility and economic benefits of investments in diesel generators and solar PV systems with battery storage. The cost-benefit scenarios of diesel generators were compared to those of Solar-PV systems with battery storage, using a daily base electrical load of 3.3kW peak. Simulations were run with HOMER, comparing options of combined grid and solar home systems, as well as combined grid and diesel generator systems. Running a household solely (considering the base load) on Ghana’s national grid offers a yearly operating cost of $839, translating to a monthly electricity bill of $70 (about GHc 330) and a total NPC of $10,732. Investing an initial amount of $1,332 in an SHS for the same household offers a yearly operating cost of $665, translating to a monthly electricity bill of $55 (about GHc 260) and a total NPC of $9,828. The difference between the total NPC of the grid-only system and that of the recommended SHS (i.e. $10,732 - $9, 828 = $904) offers a payback period of about a year and a half on the initial investment. Given the above results, an investment of $2,000 or less in a Solar PV system with battery storage is better than making that same investment in purchasing a diesel generator. The results show that an investment in purchasing a diesel generator to supplement the national grid provides very little or no benefits. Maintenance cost for each kilowatt of solar installation done is an average of USD $4 as compared to an average of USD $40 for a diesel generator system. There are also benefits in the inclusion of a renewable fraction (16% or more) in the energy supply of homes that invest in solar systems, contributing to goal 7 (affordable and clean energy) of the UN’s sustainable development goals.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science – Renewable Energy Technologies,
Ghana, Solar Home Systems,, Hybrid, Diesel, Clean Energy, Sustainable Development Goals