[ACCRA] A Ghanaian village will get the chance to see its national heroes play in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, despite being outside the national grid, through a scheme promoting the use of solar energy.
The 6,900 people living in and around Oboadaka, an hour from capital city Accra, will be able to watch matches live in an attempt to persuade them of the benefits of solar power.
"We want to show the people that solar energy is reliable and can be installed easily and without the need to connect to the national grid," said Hafsat Abiola-Costello, Nigeria-based council-member of the World Future Council (WFC), Germany, which is coordinating the project with energy company Energiebau Sunergy Ghana.
"We want to motivate African politicians to support the uptake of renewable energies. The first time the World Cup is hosted by an African nation offers the perfect opportunity to promote the benefits of renewable energy," she said.
Ansgar Kiene, director of WFC's Africa Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, told SciDev.Net: "If you look into the long-term cost of running a diesel generator to produce electricity for light compared with applying renewable energy technology, one quickly realises the competiveness of these sources of energy. You only have to invest once in the technology and no further cost for fuel arises".
"We sometimes need to overcome psychological barriers of decision makers towards renewable energies", he added.
Later this month (21–23 June), members of the African Renewable Energy Alliance, a group of policymakers, business and civil society representatives from across the continent, will meet in Accra for a workshop entitled 'Power Kick for Africa'. They will then travel to Oboadaka to see the project and watch the match between Germany and Ghana.
After the final on 11 July, the solar panels will be donated to a village clinic.
Energy expert Robert Appiah, of Modern Lighting System, a solar energy firm based in Accra, said the initiative at Oboadaka demonstrated what solar power can do to help address the energy needs of the community.
He said that Africa has abundant renewable resources but that the high costs of some renewable energy projects meant international assistance was necessary.