Renewable energy technologies like solar lanterns, solar panels and biogas digesters offer the prospect of affordable power in remote communities. For the last 30 years, international organisations have been involved in projects to make these technologies available to users in African countries.
Mainly this has been done free of charge and has included efforts to build local capacity and reform policy. Ghana’s grid electricity is supplied by hydroelectric power (39.9%), thermal power plants (56%) and renewables (0.2%). Adding decentralised renewable energy brings the total electricity from renewable sources to 0.5% by the end of 2017.
In remote Ghanaian communities, renewable energy technologies are the preferred means of electrification. My study found that purely donor-funded renewable energy projects may aim to build local capacity but usually involve only one actor: renewable energy companies.
Moreover, the projects tend not to allow space for a range of actors to get involved. They only train local companies or technicians.