EnerSHelf – Energy supply for health care facilities in Ghana

Research project at a glance

"Dumsor" is the Ghanaian word for the frequent blackouts that happen on the country's electricity grid. Like many developing and emerging countries, Ghana suffers from frequent power cuts. On top of this, there is also the instability of the power grid. Both have a major impact on the health care services. Although electricity from photovoltaic systems could provide a solution, the photovoltaic (PV) market in Ghana remains relatively underdeveloped. This is where the EnerSHelf joint project steped in. Through dedicated research, research-practice collaboration in interdisciplinary teams, and on-the-ground implementation, the project paved the way for improved energy access and resilience within the healthcare sector, ultimately contributing to the well-being and prosperity of the Ghanaian population.
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Project manager at H-BRS

Project Description

EnerSHelf: PV-Module (DE)
Installed PV modules, St. Dominic's Hospital Akwatia, Ghana. Photo: IZNE

As in many developing and emerging countries, power outages are a recurring problem in Ghana. There is even a word for this: "dumsor". On top of this comes the instability of the electricity supply network. Both have a significant impact on the health sector, leaving operating theatres without light and life-saving medical equipment down. Photovoltaic-based electricity could provide a remedy, but the PV market in Ghana is still relatively undeveloped.

Bringing together Ghanaian partners, scientists, and practitioners from various disciplines, the EnerSHelf project aims to improve and disseminate marketable PV-based energy solutions specifically tailored for healthcare facilities in Ghana. By exploring technical and political economy aspects, experts seek to understand both the practical and institutional barriers that hinder the widespread adoption of such solutions.

Interdisciplinary search for solutions

Through interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering, natural sciences, and development economics, the project endeavors to develop a holistic understanding of how technological advancements intersect with institutional and political-economic contexts within the health-energy nexus. In particular, the question of how the interactions between the development and diffusion of technological solutions and the specific institutional and political-economic country context work will be addressed.

Kick-Off Workshop in Accra, September 2019 (DE)
The initiative kicked off with a workshop in Accra in September 2019, bringing together stakeholders to engage in fruitful discussions
Contribution to sustainable development

By facilitating the accelerated adoption of reliable PV solutions, the project indirectly contributes to sustainable development across economic, ecological, and social dimensions. A higher market share for renewable energies strengthens the overall sustainability of Ghana's energy system while reducing harmful emissions and diesel consumption.

Furthermore, improved access to energy and reduced energy costs for healthcare facilities can lead to enhanced health outcomes. Over the long term, this may contribute to better population health, as the negative health impacts of diesel emissions are mitigated. Recognizing that both energy and health play crucial roles in driving per capita income growth and poverty reduction, the project's comprehensive approach also holds potential for broader economic and social development at the macro level when combined with other multifaceted measures.

Enershelf: MESTI representatives (DE)
Mr. Callistus Agbaam, Prof. Dr. Stefanie Meilinger, Mr. Oliver Boachie, Prof. Dr. Katja Bender, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Ms. Susanne von Itter, Dr. Christian Böber. September 2019


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EnerSHelf weather station

A team of German and Ghanaian researchers and technicians installed an automatic weather stations at health facilities located in Kumasi, Akwatia, and Kologo. The purpose of this equipment is to collect essential meteorological data for further analysis and research.

In March 2021, a group of researchers including Matthias Bebber, Stefanie Meilinger, Samer Chaaraoui, Silvan Rummeny, Thorsten Schneiders, and Eberhard Waffenschmidt published an IZNE Working Paper titled "PV-diesel-hybrid system for a hospital in Ghana - Connection of a PV battery storage model to an existing generator model". Lead author Matthias Bebber provides a summary of the working paper on the official EnerSHelF project website.

A PV system has been put into operation in Kologo. This article illustrates the need, application and management of the system: "A complete set-up of a PV-Hybrid power system at the Health-centre in Kologo, Ghana".In this interview with Mohammed Abass from WestfalenWIND, his role in the EnerSHelF project and the challenges of setting up a photovoltaic hybrid plant at the pilot site in Kologo are discussed: Setting up a Photovoltaic-Hybrid System in Rural Ghana

These recent developments in the EnerSHelF project highlight significant progress and advancements towards realizing sustainable energy solutions for healthcare facilities in Ghana.

Cooperating professors

Research associates

Cooperation partners