On fuel price hike and common myths about Solar panels.

If you live in Nigeria, you must have been hit by the harsh reality of refueling your car and generator for almost twice the price of what it used to be few weeks back and buying vegetables at a ridiculously higher than normal price.

Yesterday, in a conversation with a friend, we concluded that a lot of homes in Nigeria are dependent on:

1) A Big generator to power air conditioners, refrigerators and other gadgets, usually fueled by diesel

2) A small generator often used when the bigger generator needs to take a break and is usually fueled by gasoline. (Petrol)

3) An inverter with several batteries that supplies stored electricity while the two generators take a break.

4) oh yea, I almost forgot the one that has consistently failed us over the years. The National Grid. PHCN, NEPA or whatever you chose to regard them as.

I think I need to get solar panels on the roof of my father’s house, my friend said but they aren’t durable and yet they cost a fortune. Ding! Dong! That was my Eureka moment, knowing I had a put up a post about the myths of solar panels. Earlier today, I was at a solar installation in Lekki and I was convinced it was the way forward with power generation in Nigeria.

Here are some of the myths you may need to change your mind about:
1. SOLAR PANELS ARE NOT AFFORDABLE:

While solar panels are considered to be expensive, there has been a considerable drop in price over the years. The cost of solar panels is about 80 to 100 times lower than what it used to be about 40 years ago. In fact in countries like Germany, where alternative energy sources are predominant, people are cutting electricity costs by installing solar panels on their roof. This graph below from  ‘Bloomberg New Energy Finance’ explains the drop in price over the years.

image

2. SOLAR PANELS CAN ONLY POWER LIGHTBULBS

This has got to be the most hilarious of all the myths. My friend also believed strongly in this myth as he thought of the panels as source of electricity to light bulbs and charge phones during the day. I told him he could actually power his air conditioner and refrigerator using the panels on his roof. (If he finally gets them). Cities around the world are currently being powered by solar farms generating the power needed for heating, cooking, and several other uses.

3. SOLAR PANELS ARE NOT DURABLE

With this I will speak on a personal experience. Privida Power Limited, a solar installation company in Lagos Nigeria offers 10-year warranty on the panels and their panels are made in Germany. (Those who know me know my bias for anything made in Germany) The installing company is solely responsible for damages and repair during this period as well. No Jokes.

4. SOLAR PANELS ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE

The only challenge with using solar panels as the only source of energy generation is the high cost of batteries. In an ideal situation, solar panels should generate enough electricity to be used during the day, and charge batteries to sufficient capacity to be used throughout the night.

Have you always thought about installing solar panels and had these myths in mind? It’s time to change those misconceptions.

If you need a solar quote for your home, I’ll be glad to refer you to a company near you. Just leave a comment below.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Daniel says:

    This article is very accurate.

    Like

  2. Tubosun says:

    Quite enlightening. Myth 1 has to be me and even many Nigerians that are tech savvy. However, Myth 4 seems to vindicate many of us. I think it would help if you comparatively quote how much it would cost me a unit Watt of power by using solar panels.
    Sadly, this has become a familiar trend, Nigerians are not very reactive to new technology. knowing that it took some of us sometime to embrace inverter technology.
    In a country where electricity is supply largely ineffcient, a clean source like solar energy will be an ideal alternative source of energy.
    I hear Total downstream is coming big and it seems they have a solid market entry strategy. Let’s see Nigerians diversify!!

    Like

    1. mo' says:

      Tubosun,
      I think that should be my next post. Also we need to look beyond individual roofs and consider solar and wind farms for communities.

      Like

  3. Temi says:

    Hmmmm.. I still think it cost a fortune, or maybe it’s just for the high end middle class and the rich. Wait you said people with big diesel generator and petrol generator? They surely can afford it.
    More seriously companies that bring these things in should do more with publicity/awareness or something. And thanks to people like you for this.

    Like

    1. mo' says:

      Temi,
      I will definitely do a post explaining the cost of solar for various house sizes shortly. You should keep up with the blog.

      Like

  4. mrrenewables says:

    Very educative and interesting, please can I have the contact details of PriVida?

    Like

  5. sophia says:

    Nice…quite enlightening. Would likeyou to be more specific with the cost.a range.. How affordable are the solar panels?

    Like

    1. mo' says:

      Hi Sophie,
      I will do a post on cost analysis shortly. I hope you will catch up with it on the blog.

      Like

  6. Okezie says:

    Wait first, isn’t there some place where one can get this fuel at less than N145 per litre?

    In the mean time, here’s something I find rather ironic. The average person laments how hot the sun has gotten, and bemoans the lack of electricity to power his standing fan or AC unit. He fetches his jerry can and goes in search of the elusive fuel for his generator. He eventually locates a gas station selling at N145 and in between curses on the government , pays N1450 for 10 litres. “Tomorrow, the price will drop. Tomorrow, things will get better,” he tries to convince himself while leaving the station. We all know the reality.

    That sun whose intensity you curse can actually be your ticket to a regular electricity and a better life. You don’t have to join a long queue to buy sunlight. Nobody will remove subsidy from sunlight tomorrow. You don’t have to bother about the sunlight ‘finishing in your tank.’ All you need are your panels properly positioned, your inverter installed and your batteries hooked up. For the most part, the major cost incurred is one-time and not recurrent.

    But I digress. Please who knows where I can buy fuel at N100 per litre?

    Like

    1. mo' says:

      Haha. Okezie,

      When you find a place I can buy this petrol for 100 Naira, please share with me.
      Well said, the fast that solar panels have no recurrent cost is enough reason for people to consider it. Many concentrate on the initial bulk price, neglecting the fact that the panels pays for itself in about three years on the average.

      Like

  7. Chrinstine says:

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

    Like

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