Interview with Strategic Security Systems International Limited (3Sil)
Climate Action spoke with a representative of 3Sil - an Independent and economically empowered services conglomerate that specialises in the procurement of solar lighting systems and products.
Firstly, can you please explain who Strategic Security Systems International Limited (3Sil) are and outline your mission?
Strategic Security Systems International Limited (3SiL) is an independent and economically empowered services conglomerate, comprising a general procurements firm as the parent company, freight forwarding and clearing firm and a property development subsidiary. 3SiL was born out of the debilitating energy crises that confronted Ghana in the recent past. Every facet of the Ghanaian economy was reeling under this burden of power cuts. Health facilities, industries, security installations, dwelling homes were all affected.
In search of a viable business opportunity in Ghana upon his return from The USA where he had lived for 10 years, Mr. Boateng, the founder of 3SiL, plunged himself in the search for sustainable and alternative energy supply as a business opportunity. It was a long and arduous search that paid off eventually leading to the supply of durable and cost effective photovoltaic lighting. Today, 3SiL positions itself as a supplier of specialised goods and services to government departments and agencies in Ghana and the USA. With nearly ten years of experience in specialist supplies, 3SiL brings to each job a wealth of multifaceted experience, and executes each assignment with attention to detail and despatch.
The company currently has 4 subsidiaries: Escripts (an IT and digital data management company), Strategic Power Solutions (Solar panel productions company), Strategic Clearing Agency (in charge of domestic & international procurement and clearing of goods) and Liqsoil (a real estate company).
Our mission is to provide clients with well researched products and personalised service of excellent quality. To achieve this, 3SiL has brought together talents from diverse backgrounds to form an outstanding team. This has given us a strong foundation with which to pursue our company’s mission. The provision of excellent quality is built on our key principles of:
- Improving on the quality of living for all our customers especially the rural dwellers,
- Anticipating and satisfying the specific needs of clients in security supplies, materials and services,
- Keeping abreast with professional and best practice guidelines to deliver exceptional standards of performance and productivity,
- Pursuing innovation and flexibility,
- Building a work culture that embraces new ideas and encourages continuous learning.
In what way does your mission contribute to national objectives?
By the above listed missions 3SiL will be contributing to the following national objectives:
- Facilitation of economic activities in the rural areas especially agro-producing communities and hence promote economic growth within the districts,
- Curbing rural urban drift,
- Promoting social activities at night in rural communities without electricity,
- Ensuring sound economic practices.
In 2007, 3SiL introduced a range of products in the solar energy sector. What, in your opinion, are the benefits of solar power?
Solar power is one of the few developing renewable energy sources – it replenishes itself, doesn’t run out like fossil fuels, coal and other non-renewable energy sources and also helps reduce ozone layer depletion and greenhouse gas emission. Solar energy has been at the fore-front of energy development during the recent years but has struggled to take off in sub-Saharan Africa due to the lack of knowledge and funds to invest properly in the sector.
Solar power has several benefits:
- The initial cost of setting up solar power may cost a lot but this source of energy has the ability to pay for itself over time. A single solar panel produced by 3SIL has the ability to last over 25 years with little to no maintenance. Solar power therefore provides electricity at a cheap rate.
- Solar power is reliable: A lot of people have the misconception that solar power cannot function when the sun is not shining. Solar power, however, is highly reliable as the rising and setting of the sun are regular and even the smallest rays of sun can penetrate the panels and generate energy.
- Solar power is one of the solutions to tackle global warming: The burning of greenhouse gases is held responsible for hastening the process of global warming. However since solar power does not involve burning fossil fuels, it is safe to say that solar power is currently one of the most important solutions to global warming crisis.
- Solar power creates job opportunities: Money invested in solar energy sector has the ability to provide about 2 or 3 times more jobs than when invested in coal or natural gases.
- Solar power makes every citizen an independent power producer, the fuel needed to power the solar panels cannot be bought or monopolized, it is free for all. Once one has mounted a solar panel on their roofs, they essentially become independent producers of power which can help in meeting the energy needs of developing countries like Ghana.
3Sil also produces bespoke substrates including security printing paper, holographic material and carbonless paper. Could you explain their uses?
3SIL supplies a range of security printing papers, holographic materials and carbonless papers which cannot be falsified and are used by special government agencies for a variety of uses. The security printing papers supplied by 3SIL are used for value books such as receipts and VAT books. 3SIL currently supplies these bespoke substrates to Controller and Accountant General’s department, a government agency made up of accountants that handle payments on behalf of the Ghanaian government.
These papers can also be used for printing academic transcripts and certificates, government and international documents, receipts and purchase orders for health and pharmaceutical products, legal and real estate documents like mortgages, business contracts, divorce documents, business and rental agreements, promissory notes, judiciary transcripts and all other official paper work.
You are also involved in property development. What measures do you take to protect the environment?
Liqsoil is one of the four subsidiaries operating under Strategic Security Systems International Limited. It is a real estate development company in its nascent stage; the company undertakes both residential and commercial building projects.
As a company committed to ensuring that our building practices are in line with international sustainable development practices, we incorporate the following environmentally friendly particularities to ensure that the environment is protected and our carbon footprint reduced:
- Installation of Solar Panels: All our buildings both completed and ongoing are equipped with solar panels to allow residents and owners to independently generate electricity. This also removes the burden of initial set up cost for our customers, thereby encouraging the use of renewable energy. Our pre-installed solar panels help reduce dependence on the national grid and burning of fossil fuels – partly responsible for global warming.
- Bio digesters: Our recent buildings are fitted with bio digesters which produce biogas, via the anaerobic decomposition of organic materials (kitchen, garden and human waste). Biogas generated from this organic waste can be harvested and used to for energy.
- Atrium: Our most recent building is equipped of an atrium which allows rays of sunlight to filter into the building, reducing the amount of electricity used during the day and allowing residents free light and good air quality whilst protecting them from direct contact with the sun.
- Extractors: We equip our buildings with extractors which help to improve air quality by filtering out bad/hot air. When the extractors filter out bad/hot air it helps reduce the workload on the air conditioners which in turn reduces energy use.
3Sil are sponsoring the Sustainable Investment Forum which takes place during New York Climate Week in September. What were your reasons behind your involvement with this event?
3SIL’s support for Climate Action’s Sustainable Investment Forum is based on our desire to produce and use energy in a cleaner and more efficient way.
Our belief in the Triple Bottom Line of Sustainability (Economic, Social and Environmental): As the only Solar PV Module manufacturer in the West African Sub region, we believe that scaling up Clean Energy development is key, since it promotes Sustainable Economic Growth and also supports global transition towards a low-carbon environment.
Our commitment to comply with the Principles of Responsible Investment: As an organization, we believe that integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards into our business models does not only benefit the environment and society but also makes us well placed and more competitive across our value chain over the long term. Thus, recognizing and investing in an event such as the Sustainable investment Forum is unequivocally a clever way to invest.
3SIL’s scope of business supports Renewable, smart grid and storage systems, because we believe this can help reduce the economic, environmental, and health risks associated with air pollution and climate change. Energy use can significantly be reduced at all level and its renewable contents increased through the innovative integration of clean renewable energy systems.
You will, personally, be speaking at the Sustainable Investment Forum. Could you give us a brief outline of what you will be discussing?
Mr. Boateng will be participating in the panel: A Spotlight on Low Carbon Investment in Emerging Regions, giving him the opportunity to speak on issues such as the current situation in Africa’s energy sector, the challenges and opportunities for private sector financing of climate smart development in emerging markets, the renewable energy industries making the most progress and the ways to manage and reduce investment risk profiles.
Most Sub-Saharan African countries have a target of increasing their renewable energy production by 10% by 2020; Research has also revealed that only about 31% of the African continent has access to electricity. Currently many African countries are investing into renewable energy in a bid to ensure that the 2020 renewable energy target is met and sufficient energy is made available in the continent.
Some of the challenges facing private sector financing of renewable and climate friendly energy development in emerging markets like Africa are:
- Weak legal framework
- Lack of documentation on low carbon development
- Lack of capital subsidies
- Relatively low levels of awareness in citizens
Some of the Opportunities for private financing in emerging markets like Africa (Ghana) include:
- Hydro energy