DIFFUSION OF SOLAR PRODUCTS ON THE AFRICAN MARKET (Case: Ghana)

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ABSTRACT

Solar energy is one of the numerous renewable energy sources that can be relied upon when thinking about the provision of sustainable energy to the vast majority of people living in the developing countries who are yet to have access to clean and sustainable energy. The potentials of solar energy has not been realized yet in the developing Sub-Saharan African countries like Ghana due to several barriers which impede the penetration and diffusion of solar products into the African market and Ghana for that matter. Meanwhile, a research on the energy system in Ghana shows that many consider solar power as an alternative energy source due to the unreliable nature of the sources of power in the country, mainly hydro and thermal power plants.


This research studied the major barriers that impede the penetration and diffusion of solar products into the African market(s) and the case country in the study was Ghana, West Africa. The solutions to the identified barriers have also been captured in the work with some recommendations.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

1. INTRODUCTION
            1.1 Objectives of the research
            1.2 The research questions
            1.3 Methodology of the research
            1.5 Structure of the research

2 LITERATURE REVIEW
            2.1 The geography and history of Ghana
                        2.1.1 The climatic conditions in Ghana
                        2.1.2 The history of electrical generation in Ghana
            2.2 Before the construction of Akosombo
            2.3 Different types of renewable energy sources
                        2.3.1 Technical analysis
                        2.3.2 Geothermal energy
                        2.3.3 Wind energy
                        2.3.4 Hydropower
                        2.3.5 Biogas
                        2.3.6 Biomass
                        2.3.7 Solar Energy
            2.4 Why Solar Energy as an alternative energy source for Ghana

3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
            3.1 Quantitative Research
            3.2 Qualitative Research
            3.3 Data Collection
            3.4 Research Design
                        3.4.1 Exploratory Research
                        3.4.2 Descriptive Research
                        3.4.3 Casual Research
            3.5 Data Analysis
            3.6 Validity and Reliability of the study
            3.7 Diffusion Literature
3.7.1    What are diffusion barriers?
3.7.2    Identification of barriers
3.7.3    Major barriers identified
3.8       How to overcome diffusion barriers
3.8.1    Liberalization of the energy sector
3.8.2    Guaranteed markets
3.8.3    Financial support
3.8.4 Government investments
3.8.5 Publicity campaigns
3.8.6 Research and development (R&D)
3.9       Industry type
3.10 Likelihood of installation
3.11 Growth of Solar Business

4.0 EMPIRICAL STUDY AND FINDINGS
4.1 Quantitative (Exploratory) Research Analysis
4.1.1 Atlas Business and Energy Systems (ABES)
4.1.2 Quantitative research analysis
4.1.3 A. Diffusion barriers
4.1.4 B. Growth of solar business
4.1.5 C. Driving force
4.1.6    D. Brand names
4.1.7 E. Individual shareholder’s perspective

5.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS


1    1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

Energy has become an essential ‘commodity’ in our modern day society. Whether a nation is developed or undeveloped it can only function well if energy is prevalent. However, threats of global warming, acidification and nuclear accidents have made it possible to transform the energy we already have into a new focus since the demand for energy is fast growing (Tester, Drake, Driscoll, Golay & Peter 2005). Essential to development and without energy, countries cannot achieve the Millennium Development Goal.

Renewable energy has become one of the strongest partners to improve the plight of about two billion people around the world who are living in mostly rural areas and have no access to any form of energy which is considered as modern. It is estimated that about half a billion people also have limited or unreliable access to energy. It must be noted that these people are living the most remote parts of the world where population growth is on the increase. If there is any difference to be made in the lives of these people then it must be a way of helping them to get connected to power sources. In spite of development in technology and economic viability of so many applications, renewable energy has been utilized to a small fraction of the total potentials it has. This is because of the presence of so many barriers to the penetration of renewable energy products. The barriers to renewable energy products may differ within technologies across countries. This research focuses on the identification of these barriers and if possible how to overcome them.


Since the beginning of the 1980s, the rate of growth in the use of solar power for domestic purposes has shown that the use of solar energy is both mature and technically reliable (James & James 2003).

This research is about the diffusion of solar systems in the African market and the case country is Ghana in West Africa. It is to provide empirical evidence on the critical factors that influence the success of energy products in Ghana and if possible the neighboring countries, which are Togo, Burkina Faso and La Cöte d’ Ivoire.

1.1    Objectives of the research

The background for this project is to provide evidence on the driving forces and the barriers of the diffusion of solar energy products in Ghana. There is lack of information on the market potential and the characteristics of the solar product in Ghana. As I have already indicated this research attempts to provide empirical evidence on the critical factors that influence the success of energy products in Africa and for that matter, Ghana. It intends to highlight certain aspects of the social, economic and cultural factors that can be instrumental when it comes to diffusing solar products in Ghana. The significance of these factors makes it relevant for firms to understand which types of factors are dominant. With an increasing number of firms wanting to introduce and sell different energy products to Africa, this research which is looking at the energy market, is timely. Results of this study could help firms to adopt marketing and financial policies that would increase the diffusion of solar energy products on the African market.

1.2      The research questions

This research will look critically into the following questions with respect to the diffusion of solar products on the African market and Ghana.

·         What are the barriers to obtaining a solar product in Ghana?

·         What is the extent of growth of the solar business in Ghana?

·         What are the important forces driving the solar business in Ghana?


·         What are the characteristics of selecting a solar brand in Ghana?


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