The electricity situation in Nigeria is very bad as blackouts are consistently recorded on a daily basis even in the major cities. I guess only a few exclusive places like the Aso rock Villa has constant electricity from the grid on a 24/7 basis. This situation has made petrol and diesel generators a standard feature in homes and offices across the nation, and you would be amazed at the staggering cost of fueling these generators. In addition, generators are not a long term solution to our power issues and they contribute to noise and environmental pollution, which will have dire consequences for generations to come. Imagine the amount of carbon mono-oxide (CO) being released from the over 60 million generators in operation across Nigeria today, the non-stop humming, the physical smoke and the cash drain on the economy.
At New Energy Africa, we believe that solar energy is one sustainable way to solve our power problem in Nigeria and across the rest of Africa. It is pertinent to note that solar power is gradually growing as a percentage of the energy mix even in the very developed countries of the West. To go solar in Nigeria and most parts of Africa where the grid is unreliable, you need a solar home system with back-up battery bank. Conversely, in most parts of Europe and America, Solar home systems are grid-tied and channel excess electricity generated into the grid for a credit, and opportunity for others to utilize.
The basic components of a solar system that will work well in Nigeria will include the under-listed. Please note that the images are from an operating solar home system in Lekki, just after the second toll gate. Be assured that Solar works in Nigeria if properly installed and quality materials are used.
The solar panels are the biggest part of the system (in terms of space) and the only parts visible to your neighbours. They simply convert sunlight into electricity for use. Chikena!. Most panels, like the ones pictured have a capacity of generating 250W of electricity at peak performance. So, 4 panels will deliver 250 * 4 = 1,000 Watts. That’s equal to a 1Kilowatt system (4 panels) which can serve as an entry level solar system for any home in Nigeria.
All images in this post are courtesy of Solynta Energy – http://www.solynta.com.ng
The image shown above is a 5kw system (20 panels) that is enough to power the biggest homes in the countrty. It will power appliances including multiple ACs, refrigerator and water heater during the day while the panels are being heated by the sun. At night, you will have to ration energy depending on the size of your battery bank, but at least you will always have the fans (and maybe 1 AC) on all through the night
Solar Panels generate Direct Current (DC) and stores same in the battery bank. Our home appliances need Alternating Current (AC) to function appropriately. The inverter simply convert DC to AC. During the day while the sun is hitting the panels, it generates electricity (current) for use and whatever is not being used at that time is stored in the batteries. This current is direct and needs to be converted into and alternating format and that is what the inverter does whether it is pulling current direct from the solar panels or alternatively, chinese viagra from the battery bank. The system also has a guage that shows you how much power the appliances are using at every point in time.
This protects the battery bank from being overcharged or damaged by power being generated by the solar panels.
The battery banks stores power for use during the dark hours of the day when the solar panels are not producing energy.
This article is our first installation on educating our readers on the way to go solar. There is still a lot more to come. We look forward to your comments, questions and suggestions.