Solar Power in Nigeria
Taking advantage of solar power in Nigeria might seem like an attractive alternative to PHCN's unreliability
but its upfront cost can be discouraging to most. This article discusses strategies for getting around this
To meet the most basic needs of lighting and phone charging, customers may choose a micro-solar system
with an integrated panel, battery pack, lights, and phone charging outlets. Such systems often cost a
fraction of the cost of a conventional solar system. The downside is that such system often have very
limited power capacity so cannot carry appliances like fans or televisions. You can find such systems
listed in the solar panels
section of our online store.
Solar systems consist of a typical inverter+batteries system in addition to solar panels and supporting
components. If the upfront cost is challenging and there's some PHCN supply, a prospective solar user may
opt for installing just the inverter and batteries and deferring the solar installation till a later time.
For instance, our recent customer in Ibafo, Lagos
previously had an
inverter installed and engaged SolarKobo
afterwards to add 1kWp of solar to it.
I know we all want to run our ACs, blender, microwave oven etc. on the solar system. If the cost of getting
a system that can run all these appliances is prohibitive, we can consider a phased approach where we
install just enough solar panels for our basic needs and add more panels in the future as income allows.
To take advantage of this approach, it is useful to have a large enough charge controller to allow for future
expansion. The charge controller is a necessary component for all solar system installations. It prevents
over-charging of the batteries and optimizes the charging parameters as the solar system behavior varies
with temperature and solar intensity. Charge controllers have a maximum rating that determines how many
and what sizes of panels may be connected. Using larger-than-necessary charge controllers allow for future
expansion. We recently expanded our previous 2kWp
office installation in Lekki
to 3kWp of solar. This was
only possible because we had the foresight to initially use an
Outback 60A MPPT charge controller
which has a capacity of 3kW
when configured at 48V.
Solar companies like SolarKobo also offer customers financing options that allow them put down a small deposit
and pay off the rest of the cost of the solar system over the next several months. Many of our customers opt
for this and it allows them start enjoying the benefits of the solar system even while still paying off the
system. See our cost page
for our financing options.
Even though high-quality components cost more, they last longer and cost less in the long-run. That's why
SolarKobo places an emphasis on using the highest-quality component brands for our installations. Here are
some example brands that we use:
For customers with large generators, rather than get a conventional solar system with batteries, they might
opt for a fuel-save solution which uses solar panels to save on the cost of running generators. This helps avoid
the upfront cost of the batteries which are usually about half the upfront cost of the system. Long-term,
batteries also cost significantly more than other components of the system because they have to be replaced
every few years. The downside of this set-up is that customers will need to continue spending on generators
even if that spending is reduced. Also, the system only saves on fuel in the daytime since there are no
batteries to store any excess solar energy generated in the daytime for later use at night.