Renewable energy is increasingly becoming the most profitable form of power production. Additionally, it is instrumental in the fight against global warming. In the past, an increase in population and rapid urbanization led to unpredictable power outages in Ghana. Turning to renewable energy sources has improved the situation and also promoted a healthy environment.
Currently, Ghana has the highest rates of access to electricity in Africa. Ghana’s renewable energy resources include solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, tidal and wave power, and bioenergy (biomass, bio-fuel, and municipal waste-to-energy). This article will discuss how you can start a renewable energy business in Ghana.
Identify an Opportunity
The renewable energy sector has many business opportunities. If you want to find a perfect business opportunity, start with what you already know, what you have experienced, or what others are missing. It would help if you decided whether you will offer a service or a product. Business in this sector is more than just about the consumers. You will need to think about suppliers, government initiatives, and finances.
Doing business in the renewable energy sector does not mean that you need to have a large farm or a large startup capital. The opportunities are endless, starting from generation, storage, conservation, maintenance, distribution, and consultancy.
Develop a Business Plan
Once you have identified a perfect opportunity, draft a business plan. Things to include in your business plan include startup capital and how you intend to raise it, the product or services you will offer to customers, necessary licenses and permits, how you will market your business, your potential suppliers, and make revenue projections. It is important to prepare a comprehensive business plan since you can use it to borrow from financial institutions.
Acquire the Necessary Licenses
Licenses are important as they help you run a legal business. According to the Renewable Energy Act 832, 2011, individuals or organizations wanting to engage in any renewable energy business in Ghana must first obtain a license from the Energy Commission of Ghana. Licenses are only issued to citizens of Ghana or bodies incorporated and registered under the company code 1963 (Act 179) or any other law of Ghana.
If you are interested in doing installation and maintenance, you will need to obtain an Installation and Maintenance License valid for 10 years. To engage in the production and supply of electricity, you will need to obtain a Wholesale Electricity Supply License. This license is valid for 20 years. To obtain the Wholesale Electricity Supply License, you will first need to acquire a provisional license, a siting clearance license and acquire a construction work permit, and lastly, an operational license.
Finance your Business
Every entrepreneur needs finances to start and sustain a business. In most cases, entrepreneurs use personal savings to start a business. Alternatively, you can obtain financing from banks, friends and family, through crowd funding, or the government. If you decide to borrow, it is also important that you have a plan on how you will repay the loan.
Market your Business
When everything else is in place, it is time to market your business. Let your potential customers know about your business. You can do social media marketing, distribute flyers, pamphlet, or brochures. Educating customers on the importance of renewable energy is also an excellent way to market your business. Let them know how it can conserve the environment and at the same time save on energy costs since it is quite affordable.
Renewable Energy Business Opportunities in Ghana
The renewable energy industry in Ghana is highly profitable, and there are countless opportunities to tap from.
Solar Panel Sales and Distribution
Factories, offices, and homes are turning to solar energy as they embrace the green revolution. Many people can afford solar energy since it is cheaper once installed. You can get into the wholesale solar panel business and sell your products to solar panel retailers and installers. With the high demand for solar panels, manufacturers are producing them in high quantities. As such, getting into the solar panels distribution business is an excellent opportunity.
Repair and Maintenance Services
Most renewable energy systems tend to break down easily, and this means that they need regular maintenance and repair. If you have the necessary skills, you can start offering these services in homes, offices, hotels, and even hospitals.
Solar Panel Installation
An excellent business opportunity involves identifying a gap or a problem and seeking to address it. Power shortages are common in Ghana. Therefore, providing people with a solution to this problem can be a lucrative businesses opportunity. Providing solar panel installation for your clients will be highly welcome in Ghana.
Manufacture and/or Sell Solar Water Heating System
Many hotels and households need warm water for several uses. Using conventional water heaters is quite expensive. As such, providing homes with solar water heating systems will help conserve energy and cut on costs.
Solar Energy Storage
Apart from the production and distribution of renewable energy products and services, you can decide to create products that can store solar energy as a backup like batteries and generators. This opportunity may not require a large startup capital, but the profits can be quite high.
Your knowledge about renewable energy can turn into a money-making venture. You can advise those interested in using renewable energy in their homes or offices on the best renewable energy source. You will need a combination of specific skills, such as excellent communication skills, marketing skills, and networking skills for success.
Training on Installation of Renewable Energy Systems
Since many people are turning to renewable energy for their energy needs, they will need to learn how to install and use the systems. With the technological advancements of software applications and hardware devices, people will need to be kept updated on how to handle and use the systems. Setting up a training institute to teach people about new developments can be a highly lucrative opportunity.
According to the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), certain needs in the power sector need to be addressed. They include street lighting, provision of solar energy systems in schools, and the provision of solar vaccine refrigerators to preserve vaccines for child immunization in remote parts of the country. Additionally, there’s a need for the provision of higher quality and cost-effective energy services to low-income communities.
Policies and Plans to Promote Renewable Energy in Ghana
The government of Ghana is creating an enabling environment for businesses in the renewable energy sector. According to the Renewable Energy Act 832, 2011, the government agreed to invest in the development, management, utilization, sustainability, and the adequate supply of renewable energy for heat and power purposes.
Ghana’s medium-term national development policy states that the government will focus on increasing the supply of renewable energy sources, particularly wind, mini-hydro, waste-to-energy, and solar. The following policies were formulated, aiming to expand and develop renewable energy opportunities in Ghana.
- National Energy policy (2010)
- Ghana Sustainable Energy for All Action Plan (2012)
- Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program in Ghana (SREP) Investment Plan (2015)
- The Strategic National Energy Plan (2006-2020)
- Energy Sector Strategy and Development Plan
- Bio-energy Policy for Ghana (2010)
- Renewable Energy Master Plan (2019-2030)
Examples of Renewable Energy Startups in Ghana
Entrepreneurs in Ghana have formed companies and startups to provide renewable energy needs in the country.
Barefoot Power Africa
Barefoot Power is a global renewable energy startup operating in Ghana. It focuses on providing affordable lighting and phone charging products. The startup focuses on low-income populations which have no access to electricity.
Takoradi Renewable Power Resources Limited
Takoradi Renewable Power Resources Ltd provides renewable energy services to individuals, small and industrial businesses. The company seeks to improve Ghana’s renewable energy resources.
Jigsaw Solar Limited
Jigsaw Solar Limited is a startup dealing with renewable energy consumer products. The products include solar mobile charging lanterns, solar water heaters, solar home systems, and solar radios.
Phoenix Power is a Ghana-based company with branches in Tanzania. It specializes in generators and also offers after-sale services. It has a wide range of UK Generators.
Optima Solar Systems Limited
Optima Solar Systems Limited distributes quality solar products such as solar panels and solar kits in Ghana. You can browse and place an order through the company’s website, and your product will be made available for collection at the company’s main warehouse in Tema.
Alternate Power Services Ltd
Alternate Power Services Ltd supplies solar, wind and biomass products such as solar panels, deep cycle batteries, inverters and charge controllers. These products are supplied from Germany, India, USA, and China. The company also provides industrial and domestic wiring designs and installations.
As the population in Ghana continues to grow, finite resources are also being depleted. Turning to renewable energy resources is the only solution. Business opportunities in this industry are immense. You need to identify your area of interest, and as you help people live a better life, you will also be making profits.