Written by Staff Writer, CNN
The companies that are providing the business environment for carbon neutral energy generation are the ones that are the best positioned to grow and create jobs for their local communities.
Businesses in Ghana take a different approach to reducing their own footprint than their counterparts in the U.S., Europe or Japan.
They’re not seeking to sacrifice their products’ performance for environmental reasons — they’re trying to make a living by using clean energy that makes their products competitive.
They understand that something as simple as powering a generator at their businesses can cause pollution, open up their employees to air pollutants, increase the risk of fires and excessive heat-related illness in the workplace and cause irreparable losses in hardware and equipment.
“What made sense to us was not to use any form of fossil fuel to generate power, and to generate power from clean energy as it always delivered the most energy efficiency,” Gifty Tamato-Fahoh, CEO of the Green Energy Company, tells CNN.
The Green Energy Company builds solar thermal systems for local users.
Cancer victim benefits from solar solar thermal energy.
Not only are businesses in Ghana more inclined to save costs and water and power by relying on renewable energy, but they’re also more willing to tackle poverty and ill health, which puts their communities at higher risk of many social and environmental problems.
In 2012, the UN launched the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative, a global campaign to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030. The initiative promotes the use of renewable energy as a means of lifting citizens out of poverty and improving health, education and access to justice.
The initiative “calls on governments, the private sector, multilateral institutions and people everywhere to put sustainable energy on the agenda and accelerate its progress as the foundation for economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction and global transformation,” according to its website.
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It’s one of the organizations that has proven to be the most profitable for Ghanaians: solar companies have provided power to over one million homes and businesses and have contributed to job creation and economic growth, according to a 2017 African Development Bank report .
“We’ve started to contribute significantly to the improving the lives of Ghanaians and believe this is a step towards transforming the country into a clean energy economy,” says Tamato-Fahoh.
“The world is shifting to clean energy, which provides long-term economic gains, can be broadly beneficial to the climate, and health, and can, most of all, not be created in our time,” Tamato-Fahoh says.
Businesses in Ghana are taking a different approach to reducing their own footprint.
These efforts are being made at a time when investors are more interested in renewable energy. Solar stocks went up 79% in 2017 and, in the first quarter of 2018, solar electric systems were installed in over 60 countries.
“Investors in renewable energy are very keen to see business and civic leaders in Ghana capitalizing on the knowledge and innovation opportunities that clean energy bring,” says Dr. Randal Purvis, CEO of the Africa Renewable Energy Foundation (AREF), which focuses on improving energy productivity and access to electricity on the continent.
“Unfortunately, our sub-Saharan African peers’ official response to the question ‘What is clean energy?’ has been very slow, and without the leadership and political will needed for the project’s success.”
Clean energy’s role in alleviating poverty in Ghana.
This has not been entirely successful.
Concerns over the project’s “no beneficiaries’ certificate” — in which over 130,000 citizens were found to have been excluded from building or repairing their homes with the help of solar energy — caused the government to delay many initial power projects.
Solar energy’s role in alleviating poverty in Ghana.
These projects were “not the environmental or economic drivers being advertised, but simply part of their narrative of Ghana’s abject poverty,” reads a 2018 report by the Task Force on Renewable Energy in Ghana.
Despite these issues, large-scale schemes have been established in order to develop solar energy in Ghana.
Now, it’s up to private individuals and business leaders to take on the projects that continue to drive their competitiveness, while striving to make clean energy a profitable solution for their employees and entire communities.