As solar energy slowly but gradually moves to become a mainstream alternative energy source in Nigeria, this renewable energy has proven to have swamped several obstacles in its way to emerging as a reliable and cost-effective option for homes, businesses and even the government.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has repeatedly declared that alternative sources of energy such as solar, wind and coal need to be developed and utilised to complement existing gas and hydropower sources most of which the country has depended on upon for over a century.
Optimistically, this in itself implies that the government of the day’s approach to power generation is not business as usual. In a way, Fashola’s recent statements may also be an admission of the fact that Nigeria’s power sector is currently underutilising some technologies available to improve its generation and supply capacities.
Rightfully stated, the answer or the solution to the current power crisis does not solely lie in one “super-technology” but instead in ensuring that the correct energy mix is adopted, taking into consideration Nigeria’s peculiar circumstances ranging from its geography and climate to its economic and financial status.
All over the world, countries are doing exactly this by putting in place measures that will encourage homes, businesses and even power companies to adopt safe, reliable and viable long-term power generation options. Broadly speaking, the obvious criteria for such energy sources are accessibility, sustainability and cost effectiveness.
Apart from the fact that (on average) there is sunlight for 333 days in Nigeria every year, solar energy ticks all these conditions and not only that, it provides a substantial part to the real solution to what is arguably the biggest problem facing Nigeria today, after insecurity in the North-East and the Niger-Delta regions of course.
Solar Benefits for Nigeria’s Homes and Businesses
Being located in one of the sunniest parts of the world, solar power installations in Nigeria can save homeowners and businesses money by reducing their reliance on fuel-powered generators and providing an uninterrupted power supply with very little maintenance costs.
In 2016, 80% of homeowners and businesses approached by Lagos-based, Nigerian solar installation company, Greenicles Limited cited money savings and constant power supply as their main drivers for switching over to solar. Wale Egungbohun, the Regional Sales Manager of Greenicles says that “amongst many other benefits, these two usually stand out as a recurring pair”.
Other benefits of going solar include reduction of noise pollution, independence from fluctuating fuel prices and reduction of CO2 emissions.