Technology is constantly evolving, and problems that have greatly challenged mankind in the past can now be solved easily. Electricity is taken for granted, but achieving a stable and reliable power supply is still a challenge in many remote places.
This point was stressed at the 2019 African Real Estate Conference & Award, recently attended by PSC Solar (UK) in Lagos, Nigeria:
- Technology can solve many of Nigeria’s main problems, which include intermittent power, insecurity and pollution.
- With its population of over 190 million, Nigeria needs a power generation capacity of 180,000 MW to achieve a stable electric supply.
Homes and businesses can become less dependant on the grid if they generate their own electricity with renewable sources. Solar power systems are especially promising, since they generate electricity without an external fuel input. Sunlight is an abundant resource in Nigeria, especially in the northern regions of the country.
Reasons to Go Solar When the Local Grid Is Unreliable
In general, solar power has the benefit of being a low-cost electricity source, which does not rely on external inputs. However, it brings additional advantages when the local power supply is unreliable:
- Enabling a 24-Hour Power Supply: Solar power systems can be sized to produce all the electricity needed by a building, and combined with battery arrays to store energy for nighttime. When the power grid supply is stable, you can continue using it to conserve battery charge. In the case of businesses, solar power with energy storage can ensure continuous operation even when the grid fails.
- Reduce or Eliminate Your Power Bills Permanently: All the electricity provided by solar panels is electricity that is not drawn from the grid. Solar panels from the top manufacturers have a service life of over 25 years, ensuring a long-term power supply. This is an excellent benefit in places where the grid has intermittency issues. Even if the solar power system does not meet 100% of the building’s electricity consumption, it reduces power bills while making you less dependent on the grid.
- Eliminate Noise and Combustion Gases: Diesel generators are a common as backup power supplies, but they are noisy and highly polluting. On the other hand, solar panels operate silently and without emissions. For this reason, solar panels can be considered a healthier power supply, especially when electricity is being generated on-site.
Solar street lights are an excellent complement for photovoltaic arrays and batteries. They have a built-in solar panel and battery, which lets them recharge during the day to provide lighting at night. Since these lights can operate continuously without connecting to an external power source, PSC Solar often recommends them to its clients in Nigeria.
Solar photovoltaic systems are field-tested technology, which has been deployed successfully in thousands of projects in developed countries. For example, Germany is now generating over 36% of its energy from renewable sources, and solar power represents 7% of the total. By the year 2050, Germany plans to increase its usage of renewable energy to 80%.