The availability of electricity supply in Nigeria has deteriorated over years. The country has been unable to meet demand because of several structural problems such as the ‘shortage of gas supply for thermal plants, high levels of unpaid electricity bills and the country’s outdated and poorly maintained transmission network.’ This has affected many industries and businesses and constrained the country’s economic growth. Only 45% of Nigeria’s population is connected to the energy grid whilst those who are experience a limited and erratic power supply.
In some regions, the average daily power supply is estimated to be 6 hours, although several days can go without any power at all. This has made the commercial, industrial and residential sectors heavily reliant on self-generated power, via the usage of petrol and diesel generators. With the increase in petrol prices to N163 many citizens have decided to go solar to reduce their utility bills and to save money in the long run.
As a solar company, we get a significant number of calls and messages every day from people who wants to explore the possibility of going solar. Below are the most asked questions by our solar prospects.
1. What solar size system do I need?
Most homeowners are familiar with the common terminology of KVA pertaining to generator capacity and are unaware that solar power systems are measured in KW. Whilst there is a conversion formula from KVA to KW we find that many customers generators are oversized. Therefore, we conduct an independent energy assessment by getting an understanding of all the equipment being powered in a home or business and for how many hours a day. This determines the system of size that will be needed.
2. How much does it cost to go solar?
This question is often the very first asked by a prospect due to the historically high cost of solar. Whilst going solar has always cheaper and more reliable than a generator in the long run the upfront cost of solar has been prohibitive for a considerable time. However, this has changed. We offer a subscription plan to our customers. This requires an installation fee of as low as N60,000 then customers buy blocks of energy from 6 hours to 28 days as desired.
3. What is the solar Subscription plan?
Until recently a long-term contract was required for those wanting to go solar. Under our new Solar Subscription plan a small connection fee is paid and for this amount a full Solar Home System is installed which comes with solar panels, batteries, an inverter and charger controller. A daily top up starts from N400, with this you can power your basic needs for a full day. The most attractive aspect of the plan is that is comes with a lifelong free maintenance service so that customers are not burdened with the high cost of equipment replacement.
4. Can my subscription roll-over?
At present, we do not allow a roll-over of a subscription. Rather, it works with time because you are buying time. When the hours you subscribe for are over, the light goes off till you top up again.
5. What happens during raining season when there is no sun?
Homeowners and business owners are usually curious to know if their solar power system will work all year round. Solar panels can produce electricity from both visible light and infrared light. The rain does not make the atmosphere completely black. There will always be visible light even during the harshest weather conditions and it will penetrate through clouds and rain. However, the amount of energy will be much less than on a sunny bright day.
To save energy during cloudy and rainy days we suggest that heavy appliances are used minimally and only during the hours of 12-2pm. We also advise customers to monitor their system to know how much power remains in their batteries as this will help them to manage their energy consumption.
Author: Tosin Kolawole