In 2013, IWAD Ghana, a subsidiary of the African Tiger Holding , started an agricultural project located in Yagaba that would benefit the farming communities of Northern Ghana. Farmland spanning 1000 acres was cultivated with the aim of being an area that as many as 600 farmers could farm on. The project is a large scale irrigation system that was powered by diesel generators, which made it very expensive to run the project, and in a manner unfriendly to the environment. In an effort to reduce operational cost through the reduction of energy costs for irrigation, the USAID PICA project was initiated in 2016. IWAD Ghana after competitive tendering selected Dutch & Co to design, install and construct a hybrid energy system.
This system would connect the National Grid with a netmetering system. “A hybrid solution was the best option for us,” revealed Mr Busia Dawuni, Managing Director of IWAD Ghana. “It meant we could build in some reliability into the system and be able to choose the most cost effective option during operation ie either Solar, National Grid or Generators Five years on, the mini-grid and hybrid Solar PV system installed have helped to significantly reduce the USAID/PICA project’s fuel bills by 69% and electricity bills by 72%. “The Solar hybrid system has provided reliable power to the irrigation system and contributed to transforming the community of Yagaba” said Mr Dawuni. “When we first established the IWAD project there, there was no electricity, no market, nothing. Now there’s a flourishing community there, that includes a weekly market, Rural Banks and even a technical college!” Adopting the solar hybrid system has created jobs, wealth and led to the improvement of the lives of hundreds of people in the north of Ghana.