Homeowners are looking for new energy solutions as energy bills continue to climb and environmental concerns continue to grow. Off-grid solar systems were first utilized to generate power for basic daily necessities like lights, TV, and radio in isolated villages, farming areas, sea islands, and other remote areas.

When off-grid solar systems initially became available to homeowners, the initial outlay was a little daunting. With the lower costs of the essential components, an off-grid solar system is now a practical option, providing homeowners with a long-term savings strategy and clean energy.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at off-grid solar systems in great detail. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is an off-grid system?

Off-grid living means “Living autonomously without reliance on a utility for power.”

“Not connected to or served by publicly or privately managed utilities” (such as electricity, gas, or water), as Merriam-Webster puts it.

So, off-grid means you’re not connected to the main electrical grid in your state or county.

So, how does one meet their electricity needs when living off the grid? Consider how much electrical power is used in practically every aspect of your everyday life, from having a shower in the morning to charging your iPhone overnight to warming water for breakfast cereal.

Let’s see what an off-grid solar system is all about next!

Without a direct connection to the utility grid, an off-grid solar system allows electricity to be harvested by solar panels and stored in a battery, providing an independent power source to your home or business.

In essence, an off-grid solar system is a revolutionary innovation that supplies you with independent solar energy. The following are the components of an off-grid solar system.

  • Solar panels 
  • Charge controllers 
  • Battery bank 
  • Inverters 

Let’s look at how off-grid solar energy systems work now that we’ve defined what an off-grid solar system is.

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How does an off-grid system work?

The effectiveness of the components in an off-grid solar energy system determines its creativity. This is how the solar panels, charge controllers, battery bank, and inverters in a solar energy system work together to power your laptop or refrigerator.

Solar energy systems that are off the grid work by:

  • Using Solar Panels (PV array). Solar panels can be installed on your roof or in an open yard or in other areas of your property. The solar panels absorb the sunlight and transfer it to the charge controllers.
  • Charge controllers: Chargers are electronic devices that regulate the flow of electricity. Between the solar panels, the inverters, and the battery bank, the charge controller serves as the “delivery man.” Charge controllers also serve as a regulator, ensuring that the amount of electricity received from the solar panels does not overload the battery, but rather keeps it completely charged and allows it to be topped off as needed. The charge controllers either route the energy to your lights as DC power or to inverters to convert it to AC power for domestic appliances, with any excess energy going to the battery bank.
  • Battery bank: The battery bank is the heart of the off-grid solar system, since it stores excess energy for cloudy days and nights and feeds electricity to the panels when needed, thanks to the charge controllers sending energy to the batteries.
  • Inverters: Finally, inverters transform DC (direct current) power into AC power, which is sent to your gadgets or appliances as DC power, which allows you to turn on the television or fry an egg.

Conclusion 

There are numerous benefits of off-grid solar systems. They promote independence because you no longer rely on your county or state for your electrical needs, it protects the environment and helps you save money. 

Solar energy has shown to be an excellent alternative to fuel and diesel, as well as saving the environment from generator noise pollution. If you are thinking of beginning a solar energy business in Nigeria, you are on the proper track. Daily, both enterprises and households spend money on fuel and diesel. As a result, many people are looking for a long-term solution to their power problems. You can tap into this sector because a lot of people need solutions to their problems, you just need the right tips. 

How can you start a solar energy business in Nigeria? 

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Tips on starting a solar energy business 

To avoid threading the wrong path, you need to know what to do before you start a solar business. Keep reading to find out more. 

Register your business

The first step in forming a business in Nigeria is to register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). In Nigeria, the CAC is the authorized body for business registration.

Either a business name or a limited liability company can be registered. The business name is the most cost-effective way to register a company. It is critical to register your business because you will be unable to open a corporate account in any Nigerian bank without it. More importantly, it establishes your company’s credibility and dependability in the eyes of your clients.

To avoid the hassles of registering your business on your own, you can hire a professional to do it for you. 

Also, to avoid any type of company interruption or legal action, you must register with key government departments or agencies. Importantly, join the solar energy industry’s applicable labor union.

Choose a niche 

What is a niche? A business niche is a specialized or targeted segment of a larger market that companies can exploit to set themselves apart from the competitors. Entrepreneurs should seek out a niche in their business with unmet or underserved demands. 

Where do you intend to invest your energy? You can decide to sell products to customers, be an installer of solar energy products, be a solar energy equipment repairer or be a solar energy product distribution. Whatever the case, you need to decide on the niche you want to focus on. This will give you a higher advantage over others.

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Sell products to customers 

Solar panels are only one part of solar equipment. Other things in the category include everything from battery replacements to solar water heaters. Personal solar products, such as backpack panels, phone chargers, and other novelty solar items, are increasingly becoming more popular. You can sell any of these to customers. 

Installation of solar products 

Because of the numerous benefits available to homeowners, solar panel installation is a strongly marketed area. Installation specialists can help with more than just solar panels; they can also help with solar water heaters, pool heaters, and other solar needs.

Solar energy product distributor 

Work with producers to identify new and existing product distribution channels. Become a middleman for the manufacturer and the installation or retailer.

Solar energy equipment repairer 

Consumers must maintain their systems regularly once they have been installed for them to function properly. So, cleaning panels, verifying battery function, and inspecting wiring are all part of routine maintenance.

Draft a business plan 

After you’ve decided on the greatest niche for you, write a business strategy to go along with it. A business plan is a document that outlines your company’s long-term goals and tactics for accomplishing them.

This stage is critical since it will provide precise information that will assist you in increasing your business’s chances of success. More importantly, it will assist you in achieving your company’s short and long-term goals.

How to draft a business plan 

A good business plan will walk you through each step of beginning and running a company. Your business plan will serve as a road map for how to establish, run, and grow your new company. It’s a method of considering the most important aspects of your company.

There are two formats for writing a business plan: Traditional Business plan & Lean startup business plan

Traditional Business Plan 

An executive summary, company summary, products and services, market analysis summary, strategy and implementation summary, management summary, financial plan, and an appendix are the eight components of a traditional business plan, each with three to ten subsections.

Lean startup business plan

Though conventional wisdom holds that a standard business plan is the most important initial step in launching a business, a growing number of entrepreneurs are embracing the lean startup model and finding success with it.

Instead of meticulous planning, the lean startup approach encourages experimentation and allows you to quickly explain or launch your company. This style works well if your company is small and you expect to change or enhance your business plan as you go.

It consists of Value proposition, Key partners, Key activities, Key resources, Customer segments, Customer relationships, Channels, Cost Structure, and Revenue streams. 

Market your solar energy business 

Marketing is crucial since it aids in the sale of your goods or services. Any business’s bottom line is to make money, and marketing is a critical channel for achieving that goal. Many firms would not exist without marketing, according to creatives, because marketing is ultimately what drives sales.

When beginning a business, this is one of the most crucial tasks to take. Because of the internet and social media, advertising has become much easier today. Create accounts on social networking sites and use them to promote your business. Other forms of marketing include Word of mouth, Referral marketing, Collaboration, and partnership, etc. 

Conclusion 

It is always advisable to count the cost before you begin any business venture. Other necessary things involved in starting a solar energy business in Nigeria include registering your business, choosing a niche, drafting a business plan, and marketing. 

Did you know there’s a cost effective way of generating hot water for your home? Have you been searching for the best ways to use solar water heaters?

Solar water heaters can be used in any climate, so it is highly recommended. It makes use of renewable energy – the sun. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what solar heaters are, the uses and best ways to use solar water heaters. 

What are solar water heaters? 

A solar water heater is a device that generates hot water using solar heat energy. It is made up of a solar collector that is put on a building’s roof and connected to a water storage tank. Unheated water can be pumped from the tank through the collector to be directly heated, or it can be heated by a high-capacity heat-exchange fluid that was warmed in the collector and transmits its heat through tubes in the water in the tank, depending on the system. 

While heat transfer from the solar collector to the unheated water can be accomplished passively without the need of mechanical devices, “active” solar hot water systems rely on energy to circulate the heat-exchange fluid as well as to power mechanical pumps and controllers.

Types of solar systems 

  1. Active systems

Mechanical pumps and differential controllers are used in active solar hot water systems to regulate and guide the flow of the heat-transfer fluid or water from the solar collector to the tank.

  1. Passive systems 

Passive systems, which rely on gravity rather than electricity, are most efficient in hot climates where night or wintertime freezing is not present.

Read More: Solar energy and sustainable development

Uses of solar water heaters

The basic requirement for hot water is extremely costly because it consumes a significant amount of energy. Heating water consumes more than 18% of all domestic energy. The majority of houses and businesses get their energy from fossil fuels like gas and oil. The majority of modern household boilers are gas-powered and heat water on demand. 

Furthermore, many individuals prefer to heat their water with electricity, which is the most expensive technique of all. 

Humans also can’t deny that we use hot water on a daily basis, and that hot water is the lifeblood of various manufacturing operations. 

The introduction of “green energy” has aided individuals in adopting more efficient and sustainable means of carrying out daily tasks.

Read More: How To Read A Utility Meter

Benefits of using solar water heaters

There are numerous benefits of using solar water heaters, they include: 

Hot water throughout the year 

The solar water system works throughout the year, though you’ll need to heat the water with a boiler or immersion, especially during Harmattan. 

Reduced energy bills 

You don’t have to worry about bills anymore because the sun is free, so your hot water costs will be reduced. 

Lower carbon footprint 

Solar water heating is a renewable energy source that can help you lower your carbon footprint.

Conclusion

Leveraging the sun has numerous advantages. Solar energy has played a big role in generating hot water for the home. 

Fossil fuels are hazardous to the environment. Excessive burning of fossil fuels in the environment releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. Greenhouse gases trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming.

Achieving solutions to the environmental problems we face today will require long term action plans for sustainable development. Renewable energy (e.g solar energy) is one of the most efficient ways to provide solutions for the environmental problems we face.

Sustainable development and solar energy are greatly intertwined.

Read More: Things that could affect your solar panel efficiency

What is sustainable development?

According to the United Nations, sustainability means “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Solar energy embodies this widely accepted definition of sustainability because the sun’s energy can be used indefinitely without diminishing its future availability.

In addition, most experts agree that the sun is the most important source of renewable energy.

Solar energy doesn’t just help reduce your electricity, it helps save humanity.

What are sustainable development goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Use of solar energy provides environmental, social and economic benefits that can accelerate the world’s trajectory towards SDGs. Solar energy contributes to the reduction of poverty, and access to affordable and reliable electricity.

Solar energy and sustainable development

What is the impact of solar energy on the environment?

The sun provides a tremendous resource for generating clean and sustainable electricity without toxic pollution or global warming emissions. The sun is finite. Hence, the use of the sun in generating electricity has the following advantages:

Conserves water

A lot of traditional electricity production requires the use of water. This can consume thousands of litres of water per year.

Water is used for cooling generators, processing and refining fuel and transporting fuel through pipes.

However, generation of power through solar panels does not require the use of water.

Read More: How to use your solar panel charge controller

Reduces air pollution

Burning of fossil fuels results in environmental pollution. It can generate harmful carbon dioxide and methane gases in the atmosphere which affects the air we breathe in.

Generating electricity from solar panels produces no harmful emissions, and the more homes and businesses that rely on solar power means less toxic emissions from fossil fuels into our air.

It reduces our reliance on fossil fuels

The energy from the sun is free, which means there’s enough to go round. Fossil fuels aren’t free, and they’re running out quickly.

Therefore, reducing our reliance on these finite resources and taking advantage of an abundant, free source of energy, such as sunlight, could mean lower energy prices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a stronger, more stable energy future.

Conclusion

Solar energy consumption leads to sustainable development. It creates a pollutant free environment, eradicates poverty and leads to economic growth.

There are three main different types of solar panels. Each type has its own unique set of advantages and, maybe, disadvantages.

It is important to know the different types of solar panels because your choice will determine the cost and amount of roof space your solar installation requires.


What are solar panels?

Solar panels are used to collect solar energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. A solar panel is composed of individual solar cells. Each solar cell is made from layers of silicon, boron, and phosphorus.

The boron layer provides the positive charge, the phosphorus layer provides the negative charge, and the silicon wafer acts as the semiconductor.

When the sun’s photons strike the surface of the panel, it knocks out electrons from the silicon “sandwich” and into the electric field generated by the solar cells. This results in a directional current, which is then harnessed into usable power. The entire process is called the photovoltaic effect, which is why solar panels are also known as photovoltaic panels or PV panels. A typical solar panel contains 60, 72, or 90 individual solar cells.


Types of solar panel

There are three main types of solar panels that are commercially available. They include:

  1. Monocrystalline solar panels
  2. Polycrystalline solar panels
  3. Thin-film solar panels


1. Monocrystalline solar panels

The monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular types of solar panels used in rooftop solar panel installations today.

Monocrystalline solar panels have unique features that are considered better than the other two types of panels. They are as follows:

  • The pyramid pattern of the cells offers a larger surface area to collect more energy from the sun’s rays.
  • Cells are coated with silicon nitride to reduce reflection and thereby increase absorption.
  • The produced electricity is collected through metal conductors printed onto the cells.
  • It has a higher efficiency of conversion of solar energy into electric energy than its two other counterparts.
  • These panels have a longevity of up to 30 years.
  • These panels exhibit greater heat resistance.


Applications

Because of their many advantages, monocrystalline solar panels can be used as follows:

  • Can be used as solar rooftops in urban and rural areas.
  • These panels are highly recommended for solar applications on a larger scale—on vast tracts of uncultivable land.
  • These panels are also useful for residential and commercial applications.
  • These panels are extremely useful in lighting up gardens.
  • These panels can form an array and be used to power rural homes.
  • These panels are perfect for street lighting as stand-alone panels.


2. Polycrystalline solar panels

Polycrystalline solar panels are solar panels that consist of several crystals of silicon in a single PV cell.

Features of polycrystalline solar panels include:

  • Polycrystalline solar panels have lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline panels. So, at higher temperatures, these solar panels have lower efficiency than others.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels have a higher temperature coefficient than monocrystalline panels.
  • These panels have a high power density.
  • They come with a structural frame of their own which makes mounting cheaper and simpler.


Application of polycrystalline solar panels:

  • They can be used in large solar farms.
  • They are suitable for roof-mounted arrays.
  • They are used in self-powered devices such as traffic lights, and off-grid households.


3. Thin film solar panels

A thin-film solar panel is made up of one or more thin layers of photovoltaic materials that are laid onto a substrate.

Features of thin film solar panel:

  • They are more flexible and lightweight.
  • Installation is much easier than the others.
  • These solar panels are most suitable for applications with large rooftops or wide open spaces.


Application of thin-film solar panels

  • They can be used in solar farms.
  • They can be used to power traffic lights and street lights.
  • They can be installed in large-sized steel water tanks to provide electricity for pumping water.


Conclusion

There are three main different types of solar panels: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels.

Knowing the difference between each of them helps you in making the right choice during solar panel installations.

Is it possible for your solar panel to lose efficiency? It is very possible! You didn’t know? Now you do. There are certain factors that affect solar panels, and this results in a decline in efficiency.

Knowing these factors will help you do better with maintenance. In this article, we’ll be looking at things that could affect your solar efficiency. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a solar cell?

A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that converts sunlight into usable energy. The amount of sunlight that can be converted into electricity is referred to as solar cell efficiency.

What are the things that could affect your solar panel efficiency?

There are some factors that should be taken into consideration to guarantee the optimal efficiency of solar panels.

The factors include:

  • Sun.
  • Installation issues.
  • Weather.
  • Mounting position.
  • Poor maintenance.

Sun

As we know, solar panels work with the amount of sunlight and not heat from the sun. The greater the amount of light incident on the panels, the greater the efficiency of the solar panels.


Installation Issues

Unfortunately, there are problems that are caused from the very start, caused by a less-than-stellar installation job. It’s important to remember that solar panel installation is not a simple or easy job.

It’s not just a matter of installing panels onto the roof — because the solar system is a source of energy for the entire home, it has to connect with the electrical grid, and a careless installer might not implement these connections as well as they require.

Also, the condition of the roof is also a major factor.


Weather

Solar panels are designed to stand on top of your home all day, every single day, for decades.

For this reason, they’re engineered to hold up well against the elements, but that’s not to say they’re completely immune. Sadly, the weather can indeed have an effect on your solar panels, and in extreme conditions, can even damage them.


Mounting position

Even if your solar panels are perfectly installed with zero issues in the connections or structural integrity, they might not work at optimal efficiency if they’re not oriented well.

We all know that solar panels absorb sunlight, so they should be positioned in such a way that they get as much exposure as possible at all times of the day.

Poor maintenance

Maintenance is key in prolonging the life span of a thing. In a case where you don’t carry out periodic cleanup on your solar panels, the presence of dust and dirt on the solar panels will drastically reduce their efficiency. Regular cleaning is recommended for all solar panels.

Conclusion

Solar panels can lose their efficiency. Some of the factors that can cause this include: Poor maintenance, mounting position, weather, installation issues, and the sun.

GVE Projects Ltd, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, United Capital Plc, Dantata Food & Allied Products Limited (DFAP), NPF Microfinance Bank Plc, and CAP Plc were all big winners in the Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA Awards) which took place at Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos on Saturday.

The NIVA Awards were organized by BusinessDay Media Limited, Nigeria’s foremost business and financial news provider, in partnership with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to celebrate CEOs of public companies who have created sustainable alpha-generating value through strategic intelligence, operating efficiencies, market leadership, and organizational values. The NIVA replaces the annual Top 25 CEOs and Next Bulls Awards.

GVE Projects Ltd was recognized in the Next Bulls Award category with the likes of Eunisell Limited, Dantata Food & Allied Products Limited, Revolution Plus Property, Ultimus Holdings, Zylus Group International, Fortune Global & Shipping Logistics Limited, Xpress Payment Solutions Limited, SpringRock Group, and TGI Distri Limited were the awardees.

Representing GVE Projects Ltd, our CFO (Daniel Wilbert) and Head of HR & Corporate Services(Shalom Shebrah) received this prestigious award on behalf of the company. In appreciation of the award, he said:

“It was an honor to have been a recipient of the Nigeria Investors Value Award (NIVA) under the Next Bulls Award category. GVE’s pace-setting innovative culture, whilst creating remarkable value for all our stakeholders, has been instrumental in the uniqueness of the company in the marketplace. We are grateful to BusinessDay and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, organizers of this prestigious award. “

The occasion was graced by renowned personalities such as Oba Alayeluwa Saheed Ademola Elegushi, Kusenla III, Dame Gladys Olajumoke Simplice, President & Chairman of Council, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Ibukunoluwa Oyedeji, President of CFA Society Nigeria, and many other distinguished members of the business community.

This year’s edition of the award ceremony gave recognition to leaders of public and private companies that have demonstrated both governance and investor appeal to qualify for a public listing if the owners choose to do so within the next three years.

Awardees were selected by a proprietary survey carried out by the BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit (BRIU). Respondents included equity analysts, retail and institutional investors, financial journalists, sectoral experts, and professional advisers.

Representing BusinessDay, Frank Aigbogun, publisher, said that a lot was happening which raised the hopes on the outlook for the stock market.

In his words, he said that;

“When COVID-19 hit Nigeria, many had thought that it signaled the end of times. But here we are, still standing… There is no denying that it was a tough year. At the same time, what stood out was the resilience and improvisation capacity of Nigerian companies.”

In opening remarks, the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Exchange Limited, Temi Popoola, said the awards, a collaboration between the Exchange and BusinessDay, have in the past seven years “seen exceptional leaders gain much-deserved recognition for their contribution to economic growth in Nigeria”.

Conclusion

Mr. Popoola said that “these prestigious awards are testimonials to the quality of leadership in Nigeria” and this goes to show how great the GVE Projects Ltd. leadership and management are.

Once again, a feather has been added to our hat, and only who the crown fits can wear it with such excellence.

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