In just a decade and a half, Ashesi University has exceeded the standard of tertiary education in Ghana and set its own pace. With a mission to educate ethical, entrepreneurial leaders who are critical thinkers and have the courage to transform the African continent, Ashesi has produced outstanding students who are fostering change in all parts of the world.
From a rented building in Labone, Ashesi relocated to its permanent campus in Berekuso in 2011. Owing to its new location, size and other factors, the new campus encountered unexpected and severe energy supply issues. Supply of electricity from the national grid was significantly below the university’s energy demand, and often unstable, resulting in investments into backup power plants to supplement the demand. This challenge prompted the need for a long term solution which will help maintain the university’s strong environmental footprint.
Six years after relocating, Ashesi is rolling out the first phase of its plan to boost clean energy on the campus. Ashesi is very intentional about maintaining a strong environmental footprint. This can be seen from the design and build of the school to how rainwater is harvested, conserved, treated and reused on the campus.
“We have been committed to strengthening environmental sustainability at Ashesi since day one, Since 2011, we have harvested hundreds of thousands of gallons of rainwater, continually treated for use all across campus. We are not connected to the national water pipeline, and are completely self-sufficient. We continue to expand our water harvesting infrastructure, and our treatment facility is always being expanded alongside. Our treated water quality meets the WHO accepted standard, and clean drinking water is available from our taps on campus. We have done same with all our septic waste, with a biogas plant that treats waste and generates effluent water for our gardens, and gas for our ovens. We try to conserve and reuse as much as we can.”
Casper Annie, Facilities and Logistics Director.
The Solar Revolution
The first phase of the ‘Solar Revolution’ on Ashesi Campus will be completed by the end of November 2017. When this is done, Ashesi will run on Solar energy during the day and switch to the national grid at night. The goal is to have Ashesi off the national grid and fully hooked to solar energy.
The rollout began in July with solar panels being fixed to the roofs of buildings on the campus. By the end of November, Ashesi hopes to move at least 45% of power in the day to solar. When asked about challenges faced during the rollout, Ebenezer G. Buckman, Associate Director of External Relations in Ashesi, said the major challenge they faced had been around ensuring the right technical balance was achieved. This is because the system being deployed will have to automatically switch power from the national grid to solar energy at dawn each day and do the reverse at dusk.