ECOWAS Commission holds Regional Capacity Building workshop for Experts on Solar Off-grid (PICS)
The ECOWAS Commission has held a regional capacity building workshop for experts in member states on solar off-grid.
The capacity workshop was held on May 9 at the MJ Grand Hotel, Accra.
In his welcome addresss Ing. Aliu Achema, Standards Organization of Nigeria said "The step ROGEAP has taken clashed with understanding and readiness to ensure that the understanding of this standards be communicated to our member states is a great feet and we must try as representatives of our countries, we take these message back"
"I want us to look at the enormous work required of us. We are representing millions of country members and it is upon us to take the message so that when we go back, we can share"
"Awareness is critical and capacity building is also important because one cannot create awareness from a vacuum, you must have the knowledge"
Taking his turn, Energy Policy Officer, Hyacinth Elayo hinted that issues of standards are very critical hence all need to ensure that there is a better understanding of the message shared at the capacity building workshop.
He added that the ECOWAS Region is not a place for sub-standard equipment and products rather, it gives solar a bad name likewise the people involved.
"In 2013, the ECOWAS Head of States dotted ambitions and policies for renewable energy, energy efficiency and the goal is to have universal access by 2030"
He however described the ambitions as a daunting task stretching that ECOWAS was over a little over 50%.
He added that the universal access can be achieved through quick connected solutions.
He reminded the gathering that off-grid technologies have a major role to play especially for people in the rural areas
Mr. Hyacinth Elayo charged the ECOWAS Commission to intensify efforts to ensure massive deployments.
On his part, Scientific Officer, Ghana Standards Authority, Francis Mensah Appaloo said "Standards are very important for every country when we enforce standards and labels on products, it helps boost the confidence of the people"
He added that standards create good playgrounds for businesses to compete fairly and creates awards for members to identify which products are sub standards and also acceptable.
He added that standards boost confidence on consumers since they have not wasted their monies on products and services they want to enjoy.
ROGEAP Coordinator, Elhadji Sylla who read on behalf of ECOWAS Commission said "The Project is framed in the ECOWAS Program on Access to Sustainable Electricity Services (EPASES), directly contributing to the goals of the ECOWAS Regional Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) with a target to provide universal access to electricity to the region by 2030"
He hinted that the project covers ECOWAS REGION and Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic and Mauritania.
ECOWAS Commission is the Technical Implementing Agency and Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (BOAD) acts as the Financial Intermediary Agency.
To improve the access to electricity in the Region and Sahel Countries, the project will identify policy barriers affecting the growth of the stand-alone solar market, create awareness among the government policy makers on the benefit of removing such policy barriers, and provide targeted support to remove barriers in challenging markets.
It will also help the countries adopt the Common External Tariffs (CETs) to facilitate cross-border trade of standalone solar products.
"Develop a regional quality assurance framework to facilitate supply of eligible stand-alone solar products across the 19 project countries"
"Build human capital and increase entrepreneurial activity by providing training to develop adequate and required skills through a structured entrepreneurship development facility, which will ensure reliable service to the beneficiaries and create employment opportunities at the local level"
The Regional Capacity Building Workshop aims to enforce capacities on the two standards related to solar PV off-grid products up 350 Wp (IEC TS 62257-9-8:2020 and IEC TS 62257-9-5:2018 – first one concern products and the second concerns testing methods of the products).
During this next three day, the experts will cover technical and administrative aspects.
"General and specific aspect on the two standards, conformity assessment on solar off grid system, market surveillance and enforcement and enforcement, application of standards, communication, and monitoring and evaluation activities relating to the products, solar PV off-grid system up to 350 watts, and their testing methods in the laboratory"
The organisers expresed gratitude to the World Bank, Clean Technology Fund and the Government of the Netherlands as the sponsor of ROGEAP as well the trainers and to ECREEE.
Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith