Persistent Energy Ghana Brings Solar to Those Who Need Light
Persistent Energy Ghana (PEG) is leading the movement to bring green energy, installing solar-powered micro-grids for the one million Ghanaian households that earn between $1 and $6 a day.
PEG, a Ghanaian energy services company that launched last year, hopes to help under-electrified regions leap-frog directly from kerosene to solar in the same way that Ghana skipped over the installation of telephone lines thanks to the adoption of cell phones. "These are villages that have never had access to power before," says Hugh Whalan, CEO of PEG. "We are taking these consumers from kerosene and candles all the way to plentiful, clean electricity. It’s exciting. The impact on these communities will be immense."
Homes in participating villages are wired to a common bank of lithium-ion batteries, which are charged by an array of ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. Each household on the micro-grid receives a smart meter, which automatically shuts off once the customer runs out of credit. Customers can then add as much or as little credit as they can afford to their account via a local agent with a cell phone.
Persistent Energy has funded the installation of several micro-grids in Tanzania. Nate Heller, Chief Operating Officer in Ghana, enjoyed launching Persistent Energy’s first system in West Africa. "We went live in December 2013," said Heller, who first came to Africa as a member of the Peace Corps and later graduated with an MBA from Yale. "The first installations gave three villages with a minimum of one hundred homes each their own grid."
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Rural fishing village in Ghana image via Shutterstock.