The sight of solar rooftops is becoming more common in Nigeria’s cities. There are several reasons why Solar is growing in popularity. Let’s take a look at the major ones.
Lack of access to power is still a challenge for Nigeria’s city dwellers. Many locations have no grid power and the most fortunate homeowners get just 4-6 hours supply a day. The provision of ‘NEPA light’ is entirely random compared to South Africa where companies like ESKOM provide a load shedding schedule. This helps consumers to plan and manage their daily activities according to their allocated power time slot.
Using a generator does not provide much relief as owners have to turn on their generator each time they want power, even for basic equipment such as fans and lights. Installing Solar Power means one no longer has to deal with the stress, noise and burning fuel of a generator set. One also enjoys 24 hours power as solar user and Amuwo Odofin Lagos resident Elvira Atimomo proves, ‘I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. With 24/7 power supply, confidence to store fruits/vegetables and other food, it’s the most worthwhile expenditure I’ve incurred in recent times.’
The contagion effect is a strong factor in the rise of solar power usage. Satisfied solar users demonstrate that the technology works. They are also likely to talk about the benefits of their Solar Home System to family and friends.
One such solar user is Lateef Ayonuga, who owns a 2KW system for his Ayobo Lagos home. He affirms that going solar has provided his family with a radically new lifestyle ‘I can tell you this is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The system is working perfectly, and I am enjoying 24/7 power supply every day. I will be referring all of my family and friends’
An Ogun state resident echoes the ease and comfort of using solar since he leased his 500-watt system, ‘The solar energy source has reduced any form of noise, it has removed environmental pollution’. Aged 45, Godwin Akhimien, operated a generator for the majority of his adult life before switching to solar. His positive story and that of many others makes going solar a concrete possibility for friends, colleagues and neighbours.
Solar companies like Solynta Energy attest to the contagion effect confirming that up to 60% of their sales come from customer referrals, MD Uvie Ugono states that ‘People considering buying a Solar Home System are less interested in what we say about ourselves as a company, than what their peers do. We work to ensure that our customers can enjoy and rely on our service which increases customer satisfaction and conversely helps us to grow our business.’
Financial reasons are also a push factor in the high solar uptake in Nigeria. The cost of fueling and maintaining a generator is high with the majority of users spending a minimum of N500 a day on fuel and N15,201 per month. For the same amount of money generator users only receive 6 hours a day power. They also have a monthly maintenance cost of around N5000. By going solar 24 hours power is guaranteed for the same price and maintenance is minimal. After 36 months Solar Home System users fully own their equipment and have a free source of power for 25 years.
Solar is the new age power for Nigeria. Like telecoms it has quickly emerged as a fore runner in solving a major problem. In 10 years’ time it is easy to imagine that generator sets will be like landline phones, confined to museums, a relic of the past like the power problem. The switch is well underway to this brighter future.
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