Electricity is one of the most expensive overhead charges you’ll face as a business owner. You’ll be vulnerable to electric rate changes if you rely on the commercial power system.

Unexpected price rises create uncertainty in your firm, particularly in terms of cash flow management. Perhaps it’s time to lighten your load and investigate how solar panels can help your company.

Solar panels are quickly gaining traction as a viable alternative energy source. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the commercial benefits of solar panels

Benefits of solar energy for commercial use

You’re probably aware that solar energy is a long-term investment with a slow payoff. Finally, you’ll base your decision on the advantages of solar electricity for your company. Here are a few of the most important advantages:

Sustainability of solar panels

Commercial electrical power is a commodity, which many people are unaware of. It is purchased and sold according to supply and demand.

When you take electricity from the grid, you’re subject to market forces and user rates. You are not covered against future charges. This is due to the fact that the future is unpredictably unpredictable.

You’re making an investment in your company’s future by switching to solar energy. You save money on electricity while also protecting the future of your business when you use solar power.

Read Also: Solar energy and sustainable development

Control future energy bills

It’s tough to predict running costs because you never know what the future holds. When you install solar panels, though, forecasting your electric bill becomes a lot easier.

With a business solar panel system that drastically decreases your energy expenditures, you won’t have to worry about unpredictable and wildly changing energy bills each month. Because you won’t have to worry about growing energy rates, your budgeting just got a whole lot easier.

Highly reliable

Solar panels for commercial use are essentially maintenance-free and silent. Commercial buildings are usually designed in such a way that they are conveniently accessible.

The solar cells are protected by tempered glass and non-corrosive aluminum frames. They’re made to withstand the elements and can survive rain, hail, wind, and snow – pretty much any weather-related threat.

Now is the best time to invest in SOLAR. The above benefits of solar energy for commercial use are valid!

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all you need to know about solar panel kits, is it with it, and how many watts of solar you will need for your home, 

What are solar panel kits? 

Everything you need to generate and use green energy is included in a solar panel kit. Solar panels, panel mounts, a charge controller to convert DC current to usable AC current, cabling and connections to tie everything together, and batteries to store all of the generated energy are all included.

These kits are packaged in a way that makes them simple to assemble, allowing homeowners to avoid guesswork throughout the solar installation process. 

There are many distinct versions of these kits available for purchase, each tailored to specific uses and requirements. Choosing one necessitates establishing a budget and determining which features you cannot live without even for a day.

Read More: Off-grid solar systems: All you need to know

Are solar panel kits worth it? 

People want to save money while preserving the environment. They wish to purchase solar cells in order to cut down on their energy use and long-term costs.

A solar panel kit is an excellent way to get started with a solar power system. A solar cell can now generate enough electricity to run a home on its own, thanks to advancements in technology and solar panel efficiency.

Furthermore, installation kits are affordable. Many types on the market can assist with almost any task. Some people even prefer to heat their homes with solar cells or portable solar power kits. Whatever your motivation, there are a variety of solar-powered kits available.

Solar energy is a good investment because it saves money on electricity. The upfront fees are the most difficult to overcome because you save money on a monthly bill. It’s worth looking into several sellers to see if you can locate a good offer. For solar installation, the average solar panel company will provide a discount.

How many watts of solar do I need?

Subtract the amount of daily peak sunlight hours in your area from your average hourly wattage demand. This tells you how much energy your panels must produce each hour.

What can a 100W solar panel run? 

A single 100-Watt Solar Panel can power multiple tiny gadgets such as cell phones, lamps, ceiling fans, wifi routers, laptops, and other small devices. Heaters, televisions, air conditioning systems, and other comparable items require more than one 100-Watt Solar Panel.

What can a 200W solar panel run?

A laptop, LED lights, an energy-efficient mini-fridge, an exhaust fan, a coffee maker, and a 32″ LED TV can all be powered by a 200-watt solar panel.

What can a 300W solar panel run? 

A 300-watt panel receiving 8 hours of sunlight per day will generate around 2.5 kilowatt-hours per day. We can acquire a solar output of roughly 900 kilowatt-hours per year if we multiply this by 365 days per year. In a nutshell, each solar panel will generate 900 kilowatt-hours each year.

Despite the various scenarios, there is still a vast list of appliances and equipment that can be powered by 300-watt solar panels, including laptops, LED lights, stereos, and televisions.

Read More: The best ways to use solar water heaters

What can a 400W solar panel run? 

With full irradiance, a 400-watt solar panel can run a 360 watt AC load (continuous). This figure accounts for a ten percent inverter loss. This covers a variety of devices such as televisions, laptop computers, slow cookers, and ceiling fans. A 120Ah battery and a 400-watt solar panel can power a compact fridge.

What can a 500W solar panel run?

The inverter, which produces 500 watts of power, could power a variety of devices. Small refrigerators, tablets, cellphones, cameras, computers, repair equipment, game consoles, small TVs, DVD players, and a variety of other household appliances are just a few examples. The inverter can be used up to 80% of its capability.

Conclusion 

Whether you’re a contractor or not, there’s a kit out there to suit your needs. Just double-check everything to make sure you’re getting the appropriate item. If you have any doubts about whether a certain kit is right for you, consult a professional (speak with us today). Solar energy is an unstoppable development that benefits everyone.

Large-scale solar projects are solar farms or solar parks. They are usually used as power plants in the same way that natural gas power plants are. In solar farming, unlike home solar paneling, the panels will be embedded in the ground over enormous expanses of land. 

The panels capture the sun’s energy throughout the day and direct it to a receiver filled with molten salt. In this article, we’ll be looking at 3 key benefits of solar farming. 

3 benefits of solar farming 

Solar energy technology has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Turning to solar energy sources has never been more ecologically beneficial and cost-effective. The following are only a few of the advantages of solar farms.

Read This Next: How to start a solar energy business in Nigeria

Environmentally friendly 

Solar farms rely on a dependable and environmentally friendly energy source. They help to lower carbon emissions. Also, solar farms generate non-polluting energy that is not harmful to the environment.

Solar farms do not pollute the environment. While there are some emissions connected with the construction of a solar farm, they are negligible when compared to most other forms of electricity.

Useful for plants and animals 

Solar farms improve the habitat for animals and plants on land. The terrain around a solar farm is typically grassy, making it safe for local wildlife to graze between the rows of panels.

Renewable energy 

Solar energy is clean, renewable, and easy on your wallet and the environment when you install solar systems. Solar power, according to scientists, will soon account for over a quarter of the world’s energy.

The basic fact of the matter is that the sun will not disappear in the near future. However, this is not the same for energy sources such as coal and fossil fuels.

Conclusion 

The benefits of solar farming are numerous.

Solar farming is beneficial to both man and animals. Thinking of starting a solar farm? If yes, you’re on the right track.

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.

Read This Next: The best ways to use solar water heaters

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, that 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? 

Read This Next: Solar energy and sustainable development

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.

Read This Next: The best ways to use solar water heaters

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. 


Solar panels come in different types. Each type with its unique set of advantages and maybe, disadvantages.

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


What is a solar panel?


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:

• monocrystalline solar panels
• polycrystalline solar panels
• thin-film solar panels


Monocrystalline solar panels


Monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular solar panels used in rooftop solar panel installations today.


Monocrystalline solar panels have unique features 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.


• The 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 higher efficiency of conversion of solar energy into electric energy than its two other counterparts.


• These panels have longevity 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 used to power rural homes.


• These panels are perfect for street lighting as stand-alone panels.


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.


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 light weight


• 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


Solar panels come in three main different types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film solar panel.

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


The sun gives off far more energy than we need to power everything on earth everyday. It’s no news that solar energy is the key to a clean green energy future.

There are numerous advantages attached to investing in solar power. Research has shown that burning fossil fuels regularly is hazardous to human health.

Think about it! Everyday the fumes from generators,industries, etc., produce large quantities of carbon dioxide when burned. Carbon emissions trap heat in the atmosphere and lead to climate change.

In this blog post, we’ll be covering reasons why you should use solar power, incase you’re yet to.

Let’s dive in.

5 reasons you should consider using solar power

1. It is beneficial to the environment

The most commonly known fact about solar energy is that it represents a clean, green source of energy.

Solar power is a great way to reduce carbon in the environment. There’s nothing about solar power that causes pollution.

Solar power doesn’t release any greenhouse gasses, and uses no resources, except for needing a source of clean water to function. It is safe and environmentally-friendly. Yet, people are still in doubt why solar energy is good.

You should be among the 1% of the population contributing to a sustainable future. All you need to do is install solar panels on your roof and do away with burning of fossil fuels. Starting on your home is a great way to show you care about the environment.

Read Also: How To Buy Solar Energy In Nigeria | Specifications & Prices

2. The sun is a renewable energy

The sun provides us with more energy than we could ever use, and no one can monopolise the sunlight.

The solar resource is enormous. According to the US Department of Energy, the amount of sunlight that strikes the earth’s surface in an hour and a half is enough to handle the entire world’s energy consumption for a full year.

The sun can never get exhausted, and so does your power supply.

3. Saves you from utility bills

Home solar panels and a home battery can offer freedom from the utility companies with predictable electric bills. This helps you avoid peak electricity rates and provides reliable back-up power when the grid goes down.

Solar service agreements can offer low and predictable rates that are typically less expensive than your electric company’s rates, so you can expect, on average, to pay less for power when you go solar.

Electricity is more expensive during periods of peak demand and less expensive during low demand periods. With a rechargeable home solar and battery system, you can avoid the most expensive rates.

4. It is very accessible

You may continue to wonder why solar power. With the increasing need of solar energy, it’s become easily accessible to most of us. Across countries, there are vast land that are far away from big cities or capitals, and are not used for anything at all.

With solar power, we can actually make use of the land and subsequently generate great value; solar energy provides a source of power for everyone. In this way, we don’t need to use high priced land that might be better suited for other applications.

5. Uninterrupted power supply

Rooftop solar power is helpful in increasing electricity efficiency, considering the short distance. Your energy becomes domestic and as a result you’re in control of your own bills and energy usage.

Furthermore, solar power systems are durable, thus chances of service interruption are reduced.

Conclusion

Solar power has numerous advantages. You’ll be saving the environment by investing in solar energy, have uninterrupted access to electricity, and saved from heavy utility bills.

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.

Solar 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: 

  1. Install a home solar system or commercial solar panels; construct or retrofit a building to incorporate solar hot water, cooling or ventilation systems; 
  2. 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.

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.

Source: https://www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/renewable-energy/it-takes-a-global-community-to-create-energy-access-for-all/

Approved by GVE-GROUP