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Ghanian electricity provider Volta River Authority (VRA), in partnership with West Africa Power Pool (WAPP), has commenced a five-day training and certification program in solar energy development at VRA Academy, Akuse.
The strategic training program supported and funded by the World Bank under the theme on “Maintenance and Performance Monitoring of Solar Energy Generation Facilities” has the prime objective to provide hands-on operational ability in renewable energy such as solar, for professionals among the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with the shift towards clean energy from conventional energy.
According to the representative of WAPP, Francis Sempore, the program is a part of the West Africa Solar Park Development Project (WASPDP) focused on supporting a harmonized and systematic regional approach to scaling-up competitive and large-scale production, drawing on private capital on solar generation facilities.
With experts capable of carrying out the preparation, implementation, operation, and maintenance of solar energy production facilities; professionals from 24 companies and institutes from various ECOWAS countries participated in the program.
This capacity-building program aims for the benefit of stakeholders of the West African power sector, with a holistic approach in reducing the cost of setting up solar power plants, increasing the part solar plays in the energy mix, and bringing down the cost of electricity.
The development in solar PV plants and solar home systems has reported quality of local life improvements in the West African region. The installation and operation of these facilities increased electricity access to households, schools, health cares, businesses, through stand-alone off-grid solar systems, mostly in rural areas.
Located in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality in Ghana’s Eastern Region, the engineering training provider VRA Academy is designated as a center of excellence for solar renewable energy in West Africa.
At the launching of the training program, the Chief Learning Officer of the VRA Academy, Kingsley Gyamfi stated that the academy had partnered and collaborated effectively with the WAPP to train its member states over the years. VRA currently has two solar parks and is working towards the development of solar energy.
Gyamfi also added that the WAPP had engaged the services of Institute International d’Ingenie L’Eau de I’Environment (Institute 2IE) based in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, to prepare a ‘Solar Renewable Energy Training and Certification Programme’ for the West Africa electricity sector, as a result of the partnership with VRA. VRA also fully participated in similar programs that had been rolled out in Ivory Coast and Senegal. These types of programs implemented at the designated centers of excellence aim to facilitate the rapid development of solar renewable energy in the sub-region.
Founded in 1999, the WAPP is a cooperation of the national electricity companies in Western Africa under the sponsorship of ECOWAS countries. The members of WAPP work towards establishing a reliable power grid and a common market for electricity in the region.