Steady power supply remains an enormous problem in Nigeria and some parts of Africa. While generators have been the most dependable option for residents of these power-affected countries, others have sought ways that reduce pollution and enhance environmental health.
Solar Energy has become a fast-rising alternative to generators for many individuals. They offer a lot of advantages and have reduced running costs in comparison with their alternatives. If you don’t how to buy solar energy in Nigeria or you’re seeking for the best place to make a purchase, then you’re about to get the best deal you’ve ever seen from a solar energy company in Nigeria and Africa.
However, before we delve into the core aspect of this conversation, let’s talk a little about solar energy, it’s perks and what it offers better.
What is Solar Energy?
According to Wikipedia, Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.
It is a basic source of renewable energy, and its technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic systems, concentrated solar power, and solar water heating to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light-dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
A lot of organizations have voiced their contribution towards the importance of solar energy and how it can help build a greener environment. Companies like Green Village Electricity Group have started making huge contributions towards this goal by promoting the use of solar energy in Nigeria and across Africa.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Solar energy can be used for many purposes as electricity is only one among so many other reasons. When you consider the vast possibilities that this resource can give, then you will pay more attention to how you can convert this resource to aid you with your daily living.
According to Infinite Energy, solar power works by converting light from the sun into electricity. This electricity can then be used in your home or exported to the grid when it’s not needed. This is done by installing solar panels on your roof which generate DC (Direct Current) electricity. This is then fed into a solar inverter which converts the DC electricity from your solar panels into AC (Alternating Current) electricity.
When you use solar power, you don’t need to keep an eye on the machine. It goes off and comes on at times that the solar energy feels it possess the capacity to sustain the electricity in the environment. With a good inverter, you can get to know the amount of energy you consume and this information will help your regulation.
Further Reading: All You Need to Know About Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems
How To Buy Solar Energy in Nigeria | Specifications & Prices
If you want to buy solar energy in Nigeria, taking the right steps will ensure you make a great choice. If you fail to follow these instructions I will outline below, you may end up dissatisfied with any choice you make. The process of buying solar energy in Nigeria comprises:
1. Determine How Much Solar Power You Need
You can determine your solar power by calculating the voltage power of every appliance in your home. An addition of all the numbers with some recess will give you the value of how much power you need. Generally, you cannot do this without knowledge of electrical systems, so you would need to consult specialists in that area.
2. Outline Your Budget
Immediately you’ve determined how much power you need, then you can set out a budget that will cater for your power needs. Most times, you might not afford to procure enough solar power, however, you can always follow the next step to take care of that problem.
3. Head over to Solar Packages on GVE Group Webpage
Once you run your numbers and you feel you can’t hit your target, you don’t need to give up. You only need to see the Solar Packages on GVE Group Webpage.
These packages offer you so much that you can find something that will cater for all your needs without burning a hole in your pocket.
4. Get a Quote
Immediately you visit the page and find the offer that suits you, you simply need to get a quote. By getting a quote, you get an opportunity to access personalized offers that will interest you. Furthermore, you can get access to the support team.
5. Make Your Purchase
It would all be an exercise in futility if you don’t make a purchase. Hence, you need to ensure you make that transfer or input that credit card. You need to see this as an investment into a solution for your power problems.
Constant electricity remains a problem in many African countries. However, GVE Group is changing the narrative by offering super and affordable solar panels, which are a great alternative to normal electricity. With these panels, you’re not dependent on any regulatory agency for power as you take complete control.
Electrification is popular in cities and modernized areas. Many localities lack electricity and even if they do, they aren’t sustainable. A lot of political leaders underestimate the importance of rural electrification, especially in Nigeria and other countries of Africa, and this neglect has cost these countries stunted growth.
According to All Africa, rural development through rural electrification can contribute to achieving most MDGs in Zambia. Similarly, making Zambia a middle-income country by 2030 isn’t easy. It needs identification of sectors that have greater multiplier effects; and allocating scarce resources to such sectors for a better tomorrow.
When countries like Zambia have identified the importance of this process, then it is a very important process. So, this article will strongly comment on rural electrification, it’s processes, and most importantly, the importance of rural electrification in Nigeria.
What is Rural Electrification?
Rural electrification simply means drawing electrical power to very local and remote areas. The neglect involved in this process has caused many communities their drive to be innovative and contribute actively to the overall progress of a nation.
The Electrification typically starts up in cities and towns and gradually inclines towards rural areas, however, this process often runs into obstacles in developing nations like Nigeria. Expanding the national grid is expensive and countries consistently lack the capital to grow their current infrastructure.
Furthermore, amortizing capital costs to plummet the unit cost of each hook-up is harder to do in lightly populated areas (yielding higher per capita share of the expense). If countries like Nigeria can overcome these obstacles and reach nationwide electrification, rural communities will reap considerable amounts of economic and social development.
How Does Rural Electrification Work?
Rural electrification doesn’t work in a pattern dissimilar from city electrification. However, because of the low population density, other options such as solar energy come in very handy instead of connecting so many grid lines.
With great solar powered connections, rural communities bear less costs on electricity bills, and don’t need constant help in maintaining their electricity lines. And this is very possible when they know how to buy solar energy in Nigeria or any other African nation suffering this same problem.
Many countries have faced the challenges of poor rural electrification problems and a good number of them have overcome, and are on track to overcome it. An example from Wikipedia would be:
Like many other microgrid companies, Gram Oorja has set out to provide electricity to the millions who lack access to power in rural India. Gram Oorja created a model based upon “corporate-social partnership” and gains funding from corporate charity funds.
Their first project was in Darewadi, a rural village with 39 households. Gram Oorja raised funding from Bosch Solar Energy and received consultation and guidance from the Shakti Foundation. They installed a solar power plant capable of producing 9.4 kilowatts of power with a backup biogas unit to produce energy when sunlight is not available. Local ownership of the project is one of the key tenets of Gram Oorja’s business model, so they encouraged participation in the set up and management of the mini-grid. A village trust collects bills every month and deposits the revenue into a corpus fund.
This hybrid model proved to be successful and has been implemented in over 10 villages. Gram Oorja currently has an installed capacity of 45.7 kW and serves 230 households. They have also partnered with Bank of America to continue to implement these projects across India.
The Importance of Rural Electrification in Nigeria
No country has experienced strong levels of development without giving huge importance to rural electrification. In a country like Nigeria still battling electricity problems, identifying and highlighting the importance of this system will cause the nation to start making important moves towards progress.
When considering the importance of rural electrification, let’s identify them in terms of:
Education is the primary ingredient that boosts the mental and behavioral intelligence of a child. With access to quality electricity, children can easily study without fear of power failure, and using bright lights that help them preserve their vision unlike candles.
A lot of countries that have adopted rural electrification commented that the process has helped students study better and perform at the same level during their tests and examinations. Teachers have also benefited greatly as they can create more notes and teach for longer hours.
With efficient rural electrification, businesses can run for longer hours with reduced overhead costs. This way, they can employ more people which will in turn reduce employment rate and improve the national economy.
Additionally, farmers can leverage modern technological patterns of agriculture that are centered on electrical machines.
Efficient rural electrification will lead to a progressive community. With constant electricity, more factories will increase their manpower as they will seek to continually remain productive. With more people working, economic growth enters the fast track.
Most healthcare equipment is electrically powered. And most times, patients need equipment like the air conditioning to work optimally when they’re in a recovery stage. Sterilizers and refrigerators will work optimally and this will help the overall improvement of the health industry.
When you know the importance of rural electrification in Nigeria, you will seek to ensure your committee benefits greatly from a process that will improve their lives.
Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited is the foremost and most innovative renewable energy solutions provider in West Africa, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (RC1071222).
Our clients trust us as the most reliable renewable energy company delivering world-class service with a touch of unique local contexts because of the value we bring to the table.
Plateau State, Nigeria – On December 3, 2020, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Implementing Agency – Rural Electrification Agency (REA), commissioned a 234KW solar hybrid mini grid power plant in Shimankar Community, Shendam Local Government Area. The project, which is one of the many solar mini projects to be commissioned under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), will provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity for the community members.
The REA Managing Director/CEO, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, emphasized the Federal Government’s commitment to meeting its developmental goals by providing electricity access for all. Reiterating REA’s role, she stated that “as an agency, we are responsible for powering unserved and under served communities, therefore, it is fulfilling every time homes, businesses, schools and medical centres are connected to sustainable solar power. Almost immediately, we are able to witness rural communities being transformed with clean energy through the jobs that are created during construction, to their micro and small businesses scaling to larger capacity thanks to reliable electricity.”
His Royal Highness Miskoom Maurice Danjuma Manu III, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and the private sector developer for providing electricity to their community. “Our businesses are now fully operational; especially at night. Our businesses are growing; we can buy and enjoy cold beverages in the provision shops. Today is indeed the beginning of better things to come for Shimankar.”
GVE Projects Limited Chief Executive Officer, Ifeanyi Orajaka, shared that the installed mini grid comprising a total of 234kw of Solar PV, 236kWh of Lithium Battery Storage and 100KVA of Diesel Backup generator, will adequately energize the community. He also mentioned that the solar hybrid mini grid in Shimankar aims to provide reliable electricity to One thousand Nine hundred and Seventy Two (1,972) Households, Two hundred and Seventy three (273) Commercial Users, Five (5) Productive Users and Nineteen (19) Public Users in the community to improve the socioeconomic life of the community. “It is a thing of pride that GVE, an indigenous Nigerian firm, can be a part of developing Nigeria’s rural areas. Thanks to this project, Nigerian solar developers, like myself, can access these investment opportunities and participate in growing Nigeria’s evolving off-grid sector.”
Shimankar Community now joins the many communities across Nigeria experiencing social and economic progress thanks to the solar mini grids project under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP).
“We are very proud to have financed this project that enables GVE to bring clean, reliable energy to Shimankar, in line with our mission to increase off grid energy access in Nigeria,” said All On CEO, Wiebe Boer. “This will create thousands of new electricity connections, and we expect to see measurable productivity growth and economic benefits for the community in the near future.”
Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited is Nigeria’s leading PV solar mini-grid solutions provider. GVE’s business footprint covers the design, sales, installation and maintenance of renewable energy solutions for residential, commercial, industrial and rural off-grid or under-served communities through commercially sustainable business models in line with our clients’ needs.
ABOUT SHIMANKAR COMMUNITY
Shimankar is an agrarian settlement on the banks of River Shimankar in Plateau State, which drains into River Benue at Ibi town in Taraba State. It is the 4th largest community in Shendam Local Government Area with the traditional rulership residing in Miskoom Maurice Manu Danjuma III.
ABOUT ALL ON
All On, an independent impact investing company, was seeded with funding from Shell, and works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for unserved and underserved off-grid energy markets in Nigeria, with a special focus on the Niger Delta. All On invests in off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass and gas technologies deployed by both foreign and local access-to-energy companies that complement available grid power across Nigeria and help bridge its significant energy gap.
Energy is a major requirement for technological growth and other visible development.
But, a major concern is that most civilizations depend solely on fossil fuels for nearly every aspect of their existence.
The use of fossil fuels is known to negatively impact the environment, polluting the air and causing climate change.
As a result, many people are in favour of using renewable energy sources to meet man’s everyday energy needs.
Why do we need renewable energy sources?
Every day, we need electricity to power our computers, TVs, home theatres, phones and other electronic gadgets.
We also need some form of energy to power our vehicles and cook our foods.
If we continue to depend only on fossil fuels as our energy source, we may encounter problems in the future.
Fossil fuels are going to either become exhausted in nature or they will become too expensive to realistically use.
We can’t tell for sure what’s left of this resource, but the fact remains that it is a finite resource.
In addition, alternative energy resources have a much lighter environmental impact than fossil fuels.
This is why renewable energy sources are our ticket to a less polluted world.
Even if we did not face the threat of climate change, minimizing pollution is basic for good health.
Green and Clean: Renewable Energy Sources
Five types of alternative energy are generated by harnessing a natural process, like sunlight or waves. They are generally the most sustainable forms of energy.
Sunlight is a renewable resource, and its most direct use is achieved by capturing the sun’s energy.
A variety of solar energy technologies are used to convert the sun’s energy and light into heat.
This heat produces illumination, hot water, electricity and (paradoxically) cooling systems for businesses and industry.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems use solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity. Solar hot water systems can be used to heat buildings by circulating water through flat-plate solar collectors.
Mirrored dishes that are focused to boil water in a conventional steam generator can produce electricity by concentrating the sun’s heat.
Commercial and industrial buildings can also leverage the sun’s energy for larger-scale needs such as ventilation, heating and cooling.
Finally, thoughtful architectural designs can passively take advantage of the sun as a source of light for heating and cooling.
Homeowners, businesses and government entities can take advantage of the benefits of solar power in many ways:
Install a home solar system or commercial solar panels; construct or retrofit a building to incorporate solar hot water, cooling or ventilation systems;
Design from scratch structures that take advantage of the sun’s natural attributes for passive heating and lighting.
Learn more about GVE Projects in Bisanti where we used solar energy to power an entire village in Bisanti, Niger State.
Capturing the Wind
Wind can be considered a form of solar energy because it results from the uneven heating and cooling of the atmosphere (as well as the rotation of the earth and other topographical factors).
Wind flow can be captured by wind turbines and converted into electricity.
On a smaller scale, windmills are still used today to pump water on farms.
Commercial grade wind-powered generating systems are available to meet the renewable energy needs of many organizations.
Single-wind turbines can generate electricity to supplement an existing electrical supply.
When the wind blows, the power generated by the system goes to offset the need for utility-supplied electricity.
Utility-scale wind farms generate electricity that can be purchased on the wholesale power market, either contractually or through a competitive bid process.
Geothermal: Power from the Earth
Geothermal energy is derived from the heat of the earth. This heat can be sourced close to the surface or from heated rock and reservoirs of hot water miles beneath our feet.
Geothermal power plants harness these heat sources to generate electricity.
On a much smaller scale, a geothermal heat pump system can leverage the constant temperature of the ground found just 10 feet under the surface to help supply heat to a nearby building in the winter or to help cool it in the summer.
Geothermal energy can be part of a commercial utility energy solution on a large scale or can be part of a sustainable practice on a local level.
Direct use of geothermal energy may include heating office buildings or manufacturing plants; helping to grow greenhouse plants; heating water at fish farms; and aiding with various industrial processes (e.g., pasteurizing milk).
From Waterwheels to Hydroelectricity
Hydropower isn’t a new invention, though the waterwheels once used to operate the gristmills and sawmills of early America are now largely functioning as historic sites and museums.
Today, the kinetic energy of flowing rivers is captured in a much different way and converted into hydroelectricity.
Probably the most familiar type of hydroelectric power is generated by a system where dams are constructed to store water in a reservoir which, when released, flows through turbines to produce electricity.
This is known as “pumped-storage hydropower,” where water is cycled between lower and upper reservoirs to control electricity generation between times of low and peak demand.
Another type, called “run-of-river hydropower,” funnels a portion of river flow through a channel and does not require a dam.
Hydropower plants can range in size from massive projects such as Hoover Dam to micro-hydroelectric power systems.
Direct use of hydroelectric power is naturally dependent on geographic location.
Assuming a dependable waterway source is accessible and available, micro-hydroelectric plants can be constructed to supply electricity to farm and ranch operations or small municipalities.
Small towns can harness the energy of local waterways by building moderately sized hydroelectric power systems.
Power from the Ocean
There are two types of energy that can be produced by the ocean: thermal energy from the sun’s heat and mechanical energy from the motion of tides and waves.
Ocean thermal energy can be converted into electricity using a few different systems that rely on warm surface water temperatures.
“Ocean mechanical energy” harnesses the ebbs and flows of tides caused by the rotation of the earth and the gravitational influence of the moon.
Energy from wind-driven waves can also be converted and used to help reduce one’s electricity costs.
There are also lesser developed technologies that leverage ocean currents, ocean winds and salinity gradients as sources of power conversion.
Cold ocean water from deep below the surface can be used to cool buildings.
After cooling, desalinated water is often produced as a by-product.
Also, seaside communities can employ the methods to tap natural ocean energy described above to supplement municipal power and energy needs.
Ocean energy is an evolving source of alternative energy production, and with more than 70 per cent of the surface of our planet covered by ocean, its future looks promising, depending on geographies and regulatory guidelines.
Learn more about ocean power on California’s energy web page.
Other Alternative Energy Sources
These two types of renewable energy have to be produced using mechanical means, rather than by harnessing a natural process.
Bioenergy is a type of renewable energy derived from biomass to create heat and electricity or to produce liquid fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel used for transportation.
Biomass refers to any organic matter coming from recently living plants or animals.
Even though bioenergy generates about the same amount of carbon dioxide as fossil fuels, the replacement plants that are grown as biomass remove an equal amount of CO2 from the atmosphere.
This keeps the environmental impact relatively neutral or minimal.
There are a variety of systems used to generate this type of electricity, ranging from directly burning biomass to capturing and using methane gas produced by the natural decomposition of organic material.
How is bioenergy used? Businesses or organizations that transport goods or people can convert their fleets to vehicles that use biofuels such as ethanol or biodiesel.
Manufacturing facilities can be equipped to burn biomass directly to produce steam captured by a turbine to generate electricity.
In some cases, this process can have a dual purpose by powering the facility as well as heating it.
For example, paper mills can use wood waste to produce electricity and steam for heating.
Farm operations can convert waste from livestock into electricity using small, modular systems.
Towns can tap the methane gas created by the anaerobic digestion of organic waste in landfills and use it as fuel for generating electricity.
Hydrogen: High Energy/Low Pollution
Hydrogen is the simplest (comprised of one proton and one electron) and most abundant element in the universe, yet it does not occur naturally as a gas on earth.
Instead, it is found in organic compounds (hydrocarbons such as gasoline, natural gas, methanol and propane) and water (H2O).
Hydrogen can also be produced under certain conditions by some algae and bacteria using sunlight as an energy source.
Hydrogen is high in energy yet produces little or no pollution when burned.
Liquid hydrogen has been used to launch space shuttles and other rockets into orbit since the 1950s.
Hydrogen fuel cells convert the potential chemical energy of hydrogen into electricity, with pure water and heat as the only byproducts.
However, commercialization of these fuel cells as a practical source of green energy will likely be limited until costs come down and durability improves.
Almost all the hydrogen used in the United States is used in industry to refine petroleum, treat metals, produce fertilizer and process foods.
In addition, hydrogen fuel cells are used as an energy source where hydrogen and oxygen atoms are combined to generate electricity.
There are also currently a few hundred hydrogen-powered vehicles operating in the United States, a number that could increase as the cost of fuel cell production drops and the number of refuelling stations increases.
Other practical applications for this type of renewable energy include large fuel cells providing emergency electricity for buildings and remote locations, electric motor vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells and marine vessels powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
GVE Projects Limited, an innovative, indigenous renewable energy solution provider in Sub-Saharan Africa, has deployed an 18KVA solution to power an isolation and treatment facility upgraded and furnished by the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) at the Enugu State Medical Diagnostics Centre, Nigeria.
GVE also successfully deployed a 12KVA solar system with 30kWh battery storage solution at the Rivers State COVID-19 Isolation Facility located at the Eleme General Hospital, Ogale, Nchia in April.
Funding for the provision of emergency solar power to these health centres was provided by All On’s N180m COVID-19 Solar Relief Fund launched on March 31, 2020. All On, an impact investing firm funded by Shell, released this fund as part of its efforts towards the national response to contain the pandemic.
GVE CEO, Mr. Ifeanyi Orajaka, said, “As a socially responsible organization, we are happy to provide assistance during this national crisis despite the challenges caused by the lockdown. I salute the selflessness of my colleagues who implemented these projects in strict compliance with necessary health and safety guidelines.”
This effort was accomplished in close collaboration with All On, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), Clean Technology Hub (CTH), and the Rivers and Enugu State governments.
All On CEO, Dr. Wiebe Boer, said, “In line with our mission, these projects further demonstrate our commitment to supporting relief efforts in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole during these critical times, and we commend GVE for its professional and timely execution”.
Similar sentiments have been shared by other partners.
SDN Programmes Advisor, Chris Newsom, said, “SDN is pleased to play a facilitation role on the Eleme project. Credit goes to GVE and the Ministry of Health, Rivers State, for connecting efficiently to make this happen swiftly.”
The projects could potentially deliver long term, direct impact on the communities.
Founder/CEO of CTH Ms. Ifeoma Malo, said, “The installation at the Enugu isolation centre will greatly mitigate the spread of the virus in the state and environs, by providing uninterrupted electricity to help patient management and support healthcare facilities at the centre.”
These solar installations will ensure the provision of uninterrupted power supply at the Rivers and Enugu State COVID-19 isolation facilities.
In addition to these on-going projects, GVE is further collaborating with All On to provide complimentary electricity to 21 healthcare facilities in its mini-grid sites located in rural communities across eight states in Nigeria. This on-going intervention will ensure that over 37,000 residents in rural communities enjoy access to affordable healthcare services over the next six months.
To achieve this feat, GVE is collaborating with other partners including IEEE Smart Village, Jinko Solar, Schneider Electric, Ardova Plc (formerly Forte’ Oil), Tranos to deploy emergency solar solutions at other COVID-19 isolation and testing centres across the country.
Administrator, CACOVID Zouera Youssoufou said: We are impressed by the efficiency with which GVE Projects Limited delivered the solar installation at the CACOVID-funded isolation centre in Enugu.
These partnerships are a demonstration that takes all sectors working together to curb the spread of this menace.”
For more on GVE Projects Limited by visit https://gve-group.com/You can also find GVE on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
What to look for when choosing the best solar installer for your projects
When doing a solar review to select the right company for your project, you need to ask the right questions.
Asking the right questions will make it easy and faster for you to identify the perfect solar installer.
Here are some of the questions to ask when selecting a solar installer for your solar installation projects.
1. What’s the capacity of the solar company?
This answer to this question depends on the scale of the project and the capacity of the solar company.
Most small scale solar installers have expertise in setting up solar power systems for small scale purposes.
Their capacity will be able to build solar energy systems for homes, small shops and SMEs.
However, they may not be fit to carry out larger projects like building a solar mini-grid system.
On the other hand, a full-stack solar installation company will be able to handle both small and large scale projects.
This makes it easy for you to use them for all of your projects and maintain consistency products and service delivery.
2. Does the solar installer have the necessary licenses and insurance?
Solar installation projects are very risky because it involves the use of very fragile solar panels.
Also, home solar installers most times install solar panels on rooftops and are susceptible to accidents.
To be sure that you do not bear an unnecessary cost of damages, you need to make sure that the solar company has insurance cover for all products.
The insurance cover should be valid during shipment as well as during installation.
Ensure that the solar installer has government-approved licenses or face the consequences of leaving your project to amateurs.
3. Does the installer provide warranties and after-sale services?
Warranties are really important for solar projects to ensure that the system does not breakdown within a short period of time.
Warranties generally range from 1 to 10 years.
You need to be sure that your installer is available to provide you with all the help you need after the project is completed.
That way, you can confirm that the system is in perfect working order before you finally take full responsibility and liability.
4. Has the solar company worked on other solar projects?
When conducting solar reviews, you may want to ask this question to know whether they plan to learn on with your project.
Make sure your installer has a good track record and experience in setting up solar panels.
To make it easy for you, you can request for the solar provider to show you solar power systems done for previous clients.
With pictures and other proof of project existence, you can conclude whether the installer is the right pick for the job or not.
5. What are people saying about the solar installation company?
A company becomes popular when a lot of people keep using their products or services.
Although, some good solar companies may not be so popular, yet they are good.
For those ones that are really popular, you need to read online reviews about them.
Carefully observe the negative reviews from customers.
If you notice any pattern or similar complaints, it is most likely that you will suffer the same problem.
While some clients may overexaggerate their experience with the solar installer, you should be thorough with your conclusions.
Start your solar journey today with GVE Projects Ltd
Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited is the foremost and most innovative renewable energy solutions provider in West Africa, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (RC1071222).
Our clients trust us as the most reliable renewable energy company delivering world-class service with a touch of unique local contexts because of the value we bring to the table.
Send us a message now to get a custom solar quote tailored to fit your needs.
By Clean Technology Hub Executive Director Ifeoma Malo and Senior Analyst Wole Hammond
The economic development of communities is heavily dependent on energy access; however, many rural settlements remain unconnected to the national electric grid.
Onono-Anam in Anambra State, Nigeria is one such community, where the lack of electricity has adversely affected the social, health and economic life of the inhabitants of this community who are largely smallholder farmers and petty traders.
Only a handful of the 500 homes in this rural community can afford small generators to meet some of their energy needs, whilst the other inhabitants mainly rely on smoky kerosene lamps and fuel wood.
However, the launch of a 24kW solar mini-grid in 2016 ushered a new era of unlimited power supply which culminated in improved socio-economic well being for Onono-Anam. Several homes are now powered by solar energy; agro-processing now thrives in the community, and night time security has been enhanced.
Over 50 direct and indirect jobs have been created during the project implementation, alongside knowledge transfer, as some of the inhabitants are still involved in post-installation operations. The positive impact of this project has resulted in the installation of an additional mini-grid to serve an additional 300 households in Onono and surrounding communities of Okpechalla, Atachile and Okilo.
Energy access for improved health
Up North in Bisanti, Niger state, the installation of a 40kW solar mini-grid was made possible through a partnership with the Bank of Industry, the United Nations Development Program, and the Institute of Electrical Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
This mini-grid installation has been of immense benefit to the community. Over 300 households and approximately 1,600 people are now connected to the grid. Residents who ran petrol-powered generators for as much as N600 naira for 3 litres could now access 24-hour power supply for 44.5% for that same amount.
Security and social interactions also have greatly improved, and the Primary Healthcare Centre in the community has recorded a 60% reduction in malaria cases in the community.
Many of the residents in this community attest to improvements in their health and well-being as they can use electric fans to sleep comfortably at night despite the heat and humidity synonymous to the region. The local economy has further blossomed as 35 micro, small and medium enterprises have been connected to the mini-grid, and farmers can now irrigate rice farms and earn more money.
The overarching desire of Green Village Electric Projects Limited is to see economic growth and improved social well-being in communities, without compromising environmental sustainability.
In Akpabom, Akwa Ibom State where a 100kW mini-grid was installed, sponsored by the Rural Electrification Fund and All On, businesses and can now run for longer with reduced cost often spent in the past on diesel or petrol for generators. Energy-related spend is now down by 40%.
As a coastal settlement, Akpabom’s fishermen have reduced post-harvest loss as the uninterrupted power supply avails them the opportunity to preserve fishes thereby yielding more income.
The social impact of the projects has resulted in improved quality of life. In Akpabom, there is a 68% downfall in malaria cases experienced in the community, and children could study and play more with the help of street lighting.
Goal: clean and affordable energy for all
As an industry leader, Green Village Electric (GVE) Projects Limited is at the forefront of providing clean and sustainable energy solutions to unserved and underserved rural communities. They also offer off-grid renewable energy solutions to commercial users – such as healthcare, agro-businesses – and residential users. GVE Projects has grown from a student-led idea in 2009 to a company with a staff strength of over 40 employees, serving over 8,984 households across the nation.
The company recently signed the first interconnected mini-grid tripartite agreement in Africa with the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Plc and Wuse Market Association to Develop a 1MW PV Solar Hybrid system for Wuse Market, Abuja – Nigeria.
Through seed funding, grants, equity/debt financing by organisations such as the IEEE, USADF, USAID, GE Africa, European Union, All On, Rural Electrification Agency/Rural Electrification Fund, UNDP, and the Bank of Industry, GVE has successfully implemented 13 mini-grid projects across the country with new projects in the pipeline Plateau, Rivers, Kogi, Anambra and the FCT.
GVE hopes towards achieving SDG7 – affordable and clean energy for all – while putting smiles on people’s faces, this they have been doing across various communities like Bisanti, Kolwa, Onono, Kolaku, and Egbeke. The company’s target is to serve 3.6 million people in Nigeria and expand into the West African market over the next few years.
Some parts of the country have little or no access to the national grid.
Meanwhile, in other areas electricity is only available for short and varying periods of the day.
Renewable energy penetration in Nigeria is still in its beginning stage.
The only source of renewable energy in the country is hydro-power and biomass.
Even though there is the presence of wind and solar energy, they have only been deployed in a minimal amount.
To date, fossil fuels entirely dominate the national energy supply in Nigeria.
Renewable energy resources are grossly underutilised in the country despite their availability in reasonable quantities.
Government Contribution to the Development of Renewable Energy
Even though many homes have been using renewable energy sources prior to this time, the Nigerian government, in 2003, introduced renewable energy as part of its national energy policy.
Successful implementation should result in the installation of enough wind, solar PV, solar thermal, and hydroelectricity sources by 2025 to provide the equivalent of the entire grid capacity in use in Nigeria today.
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) is already committing to stimulate investment in renewable energy generation in Nigeria.
With a vast and mostly untapped potential in renewable energy resources, the Commission has set a target of generating a minimum of 2,000MW of electricity from renewables by the year 2020.
The main feature of this project include;
Guaranteed price & access to the grid
Feed-In – Tariff for Solar, Wind, Biomass & Small Hydro
Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) based on the plant life cycle of 20 years
Electricity distribution companies (DisCos) to procure a minimum of 1000MW (50 per cent of the total projected renewable sourced electricity)
Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) to procure a minimum of 1000MW (50 per cent of the total projected renewable sourced electricity)
If this project becomes real, we can be very sure of it having a positive impact on the state of electricity generation and distribution in Nigeria.
The use of renewable natural resources, in combination with efficient supply and use of fossil fuels with cleaner technologies, can help reduce the environmental effects of energy use.
It will also help Nigeria in replacing the existing, inefficient fossil fuel technologies that pollute the environment.
Private Sector Participation in Renewable Energy Development
When it comes to private sector participation in the development of renewable energy in Nigeria, GVE Projects Limited is at the forefront of this.
Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Limited is the foremost and most innovative renewable energy solutions provider in West Africa.
The company is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (RC1071222).
GVE Projects Limited has a lot of achievements in its coffers.
This is because of incredible clients and sponsors like you, private and public partners.
Also, we have been able to position the company as the leader in Nigeria’s renewable energy industry.
We create value for our numerous clients through world-class service delivery with a touch of unique local contexts.
Thanks to the expertise and dedication of our board of directors, management, employees and our various business associates.
Off-grid solar systems are completely independent of the power grid. You can also refer to them as independent solar power or stand-alone solar power.
What this means is that with off-grid solar systems you will not need backup power from power companies.
You can only use what your solar energy system produces and what you have stored in your battery bank.
Because off-grid solar energy systems must do not have backup power, they typically have much bigger battery banks than grid-tied solar systems with a battery backup.
Benefits of the off-grid solar system
The use of this type of solar energy system comes with its own advantages too.
Avoid Power Outages: No more fears of power outages. Off-grid solar energy systems are reliable for outage situations. These systems store energy even when for some reason the power company is unable to supply electricity.
Reduced electricity costs: Off-grid solar systems rely on sunlight to provide the power you need. As a result, this adds nothing in your monthly electric bills.
Easier Installation: By using simple tools, a homeowner can install a solar off-grid system on their own. This can help reduce the overall system cost substantially.
Easy Alternative for Rural Areas: Rural and remote areas usually have fewer infrastructures. Therefore, connecting them to the main electrical grid can be a challenge and incredibly costly. But by using off-grid solar energy systems, one can offset this significant role. With sponsorship, one can build a solar mini-grid system in a rural area.
Keeping the Environment Clean and Green: Renewable energy sources such as off-grid solar powered systems minimizes carbon footprint that keeps the air and environment clean. Using off-grid technology helps to provide electricity and also reduce your consumption of fossil fuel. Also, this will help minimize the negative impact on the environment
How to set up an off-grid solar system
Now that you know some benefits of the off-grid solar system, you are welcome to think about building one immediately.
However, there is an issue.
No one wakes up one morning to start installing an off-grid solar system without having prior knowledge of what to do.
That is, in fact, the exact reason for this article.
If you want to design a system like this one, you are welcome to use these steps in this article.
Here are the 6 steps to get you started.
1. Figure out how much power you need
This is the most important step in this process, and many people try to skip over it. Don’t be like many people who go by assumptions.
You must sit down and calculate your power load before choosing the components you need for installation.
This calculation will help you determine how much time your solar off-grid system will run.
You’ve got to remember absolutely everything that will be powered by your system.
Any little change in your calculation can make a big difference.
With a basic knowledge of mathematics, you can do the calculation very easily.
Decide what appliances (bulbs, AC, fan, TV etc ) you want to run and how much time (hours).
See the specification chart in your appliances for power rating.
Calculate the Watt Hour which is equal to the product of the power rating of your appliances and run time (hours). Load Calculation Example: Let’s say you want to run a 50W Fan for 4 hours from a solar panel, then the watt-hour is equal to (CFL) for 5 hours from a solar panel, then the watt-hour is equal to; Watt Hour = 50W x 6 hr = 200
Calculate the total Watt Hour: Just as with the fan you’ll now calculate the watt-hour for other appliances in your home and add them together. Example: compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) = 11W x 7 hr = 77; Fan = 50 W x 4hr = 200; TV = 80W x 3hr = 240 Total Watt Hours = 77+200+240 = 517
If you have more than one appliance of the same kind, you can multiply the watt-hour for that appliance by the number available.
Now that the load calculation is over, the next thing is to choose the right components to match your load requirement.
Note: If this process is too much maths for you to do, you can just key in the appropriate numbers in this load calculator. There are many other load calculators available on the internet that will serve the same purpose.
2. Calculate the number of batteries you need
Now that you know how much power you need, you need to figure out how many batteries you need to store it.
Do you need only enough storage for a day or two?
Is there a need to have enough batteries to store 3 or 4 days, or more, worth of power?
Do you have another power source, like a generator, that will kick in if the sun doesn’t shine?
Will you be storing the batteries in a warm room or will they be in a cold location?
Batteries are rated for storage at around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The colder the room, the bigger the battery bank you need – by over 50% more for below freezing. Each of these answers affects the size, and cost, of your battery bank.
GVE Projects Ltd mini-grid rural electrification batteries used in Bisanti
What voltage battery bank do you need for the off-grid solar system – 12V, 24V, or 48V?
Before going to choose the components for installation, you must decide your system voltage, 12V, 24V or 48V.
The higher the voltage, the lesser the current and the lesser the copper loss will be in the conductor.
This will also reduce your conductor size. Most of the small home solar systems will have 12 V or 24 V.
On the other hand, the larger the system, the higher voltage battery banks are used to keep the number of parallel strings to a minimum and reduce the amount of current between the battery bank and the inverter.
If you are just owning a small system, and want to be able to charge your cell phone and power 12V DC appliances in your RV, then a basic 12V battery bank makes sense.
But if you need to power much over 2000 watts at a time, you’ll want to consider 24 volt and 48 volt systems.
Besides reducing how many parallel strings of batteries you’ll have, it’ll allow you to use thinner and less expensive copper cabling between the batteries and the inverter.
3. Calculate the number of solar panels needed for your location and time of year
Using the off-grid calculator from the previous step, you can also figure out how many solar panels you’ll need for your solar system.
After knowing how much energy you need to make per day from the load calculator, you’ll need to tell it how much sunshine you’ll have to harvest from.
This available energy from the sun for a location is referred to as “sun hours.”
The number of “sun hours” is how many hours the available sun shining on your panels at an angle throughout the day equals sunlight, as if it were shining directly on your solar panels when they get the most power.
As you know, the sun isn’t as bright at 8 AM as it is at noon.
So, an hour of morning sun may be counted as half an hour, whereas the hour from noon to 1 PM would be a full hour.
Unless you live near the equator, you do not have the same number of hours of sunlight in the winter as you do in the summer.
You want to take the worst-case scenario when determining the available energy from the sun for your area.
The best option is to choose the season with the least amount of sunshine or sun hours.
That way, you do not end up short on solar energy for part of the year.
4. Select a solar charge controller
Now that we have the batteries and the solar panels we need, the next requirement is a way to manage the transmission of power from the solar panels into the batteries.
A solar charge controller is a device which is placed between a solar panel and a battery.
It regulates the voltage and current coming from your solar panels.
It is used to maintain the proper charging voltage on the batteries.
As the input voltage from the solar panel rises, the charge controller regulates the charge to the batteries preventing any overcharging.
An extremely rough calculation to figure out what size solar charge controller you need is to take the watts from the solar, and divide it by the battery bank voltage.
Then you add another 25% for a safety factor.
Types of Charge Controllers:
Now there’s a bit more to consider with selecting the charge controller. These are the 3 main types of charge controllers;
ON OFF Charge Controller
PWM Charge Controller
MPPT Charge Controller
As much as you can, try to avoid the ON/OFF charge controller as it is the least efficient type.
Among the 3 charge controllers, MPPT has the highest efficiency but it is also relatively expensive than the others.
So, if you are to select a charge controller, you can use either pick the PWM or MPPT.
Here are some tips to help you determine the exact charge controller to use.
If the voltage of the solar panel array matches the voltage of the battery bank, you can use a PWM charge controller. For instance, if you have a 12V panel and a 12V battery bank, then use PWM.
If your solar panel voltage is different from the battery bank voltage, and can’t be wired in series to make it match, you need to use an MPPT charge controller. In essence, if you have a 20V solar panel and you have a 12V battery bank, you need to use an MPPT charge controller.
5. Select an inverter
Now that we have efficiently charged batteries, we need to make the power usable. If you are only running DC loads straight off your battery bank, you can skip this step.
But, if you are powering any AC loads, you need to convert the direct current from the batteries into alternating current for your appliances.
Solar power systems work by first receiving sun rays on the solar panels (PV) which converts the rays into direct current (DC) electricity.
Then, you use a device known as an inverter to convert the DC into alternating current (AC).
AC electricity circulates through every outlet of your home, powering all the appliances.
There are three main types of inverters for solar installations.
Modified Sine Wave
Pure Sine Wave
Square wave inverters are the cheapest but they are not suitable for all appliances.
The Modified Sine Wave inverter output is also not suitable for certain appliances, especially those with capacitive and electromagnetic devices such as a fridge, microwave oven and most kinds of motors.
Typically modified sine wave inverters work at lower efficiency than pure sine wave inverters.
So, if you are to chose an inverter for your off-grid solar system, I will urge you to choose a pure sine wave inverter.
The inverter may be grid-tied or stand-alone. In our case, it is obviously stand-alone and completely off-the-grid since we are working on an off-grid solar system.
It is also very important to know what type of AC power you need. In North America, the standard is a 120/240V split-phase, 60Hz.
In Europe and much of Africa and some countries in South America, the AC power requirement is 230V single 50Hz.
Some inverters are configurable between voltages and/or frequencies, while many have fixed values.
So, you need to carefully check the specs of the inverter you are purchasing to make sure it matches your needs.
Rating of Inverter:
The rating of the inverter you are going for is also an important metric to consider.
The power rating should be equal or more than the total load in watt at any instant.
Luckily, way back in step one, you created a loads list that figured out both the constant watts and surge requirements of your loads.
From our example, the maximum load at any instant = CFL (11W) + Fan (80W) + Tv (50W) = 141W
By taking some margin we can choose a 200W inverter.
As our system is 12V we have to select a 12V DC to 230V/50Hz or 110V/60Hz AC pure sine wave inverter.
Please note that an inverter is designed for a specific voltage battery bank, like 12, 24 or 48 volts.
So, you need to know what voltage battery bank you are going to have before you settle on the inverter.
Keep this in mind if you have plans of expanding your solar power system in the future.
If you plan on having a higher voltage battery bank later, be aware that the lower voltage inverter won’t work in the new bigger system.
Therefore, you can either plan ahead and go with a much higher voltage from the start or plan on changing out your inverter in the future.
#6 Balance of system
Much of the work you require to build an efficient off-grid solar power system has been explained from step 1 – 5.
In this final stage, all that is left for you to do is to mount the solar panels in such a way that it will always receive sunlight.
To achieve this, you need to slant the solar panels at an angle and fasten them to your rooftop or in your backyard.
The next is to run a series and parallel connection of the batteries, build the inverter and battery stand and then complete the wiring.
To balance the system, you should look into these little components including:
the fuses and breakers for overcurrent protection
what breaker boxes will be used
what size wire you will need
Once you’ve gone through these 6 steps, you’ll be off and running to designing your own DIY off-grid solar system.
Experience the benefits of solar-powered systems that solve all your energy problems.
GVE Projects Ltd is dedicated to providing the most reliable, affordable, and accessible solar lighting and power systems. Check out our services page today to see how we can provide you with constant electricity to power your home.