Solar Power ,energy excitement in Nigeria.The market at Sabon Gari in Kano state, Nigeria, has 12,000 shops where you can buy everything from vegetables to visual arts. It’s so big they call it ‘Mini Africa’. Several kilometres of bustling passageways and roads, packed with shoppers and the shouts of traders calling attention to their bargains, makes for an exhilarating atmosphere …you simply can’t visit Nigeria and not go there!

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© Alexander Kohler, Source Persistent Energy

However until recently there’s been something else in the atmosphere, too: quite a lot of smoke!

Noise and fumes

Grid electricity supply problems resulted in 72% of the shops which needed electricity deciding to generate their own power using petrol and diesel generators – a survey found. Apart from the pollution and the noise, the market regularly experienced destructive fires causing damage estimated in the millions of Naira.

Solar power, energy excitement in Nigeria World recognition for huge Solar-Powered Market

© Alexander Kohler, Source Persistent Energy

To address this and similar issues, The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Rural Electrification Agency launched Energising Economies Initiative (EEI), to focus on building a reliable energy infrastructure at markets and other economic hubs – together with private developers.

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His excellency the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo accompanied by REA CEO/MD Damilola Ogunbiyi conducting inspection of one of the energy hubs at Sabon Gari.

 

His excellency the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo accompanied by REA CEO/MD Damilola Ogunbiyi conducting inspection of one of the energy hubs at Sabon Gari.

Survey, design, install

The Nigerian based off-grid energy specialist Rensource – who aims to build West Africa’s largest portfolio of electricity micro-grid utilities using best-in-class technologies – were asked to carry out the installation.

Rensource recruited and trained 100 engineers, administrative staff, and craftsmen. Like so many countries, Nigeria has a large jobless population – new recruits were drawn from amongst Nigeria’s unemployed.

The first goal was to win the confidence of market stall holders that reliable power provision could be a reality – it was something no one had experienced before. A ‘needs’ survey provided the team with information essential to their system design …some shops needing only lighting; others had  air-conditioning and refrigeration units.

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How was it achieved

Working from survey results, a colossal 1.6MWh bank of Lithium-iron Phosphate batteries from hybrid battery manufacturer and technology partner BOS AG, based in Germany was selected as the power storage solution. The power installation was zoned into 160 10kWh systems – each providing power for between 60 and 80 shops.

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800kVA of power is made available using 160 Victron MultiPlus inverter/chargers. These inverters have a peak power capability equal to double their continuous output – which ensures smooth power supply even as air conditioning units, for example, cycle on-and-off.  320 Blue solar MPPTs 150/70 units harvest the power from a 1.6MWp solar array, optimising the charge current to the Lithium iron battery bank.

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The system allows for future expansion – which is just as well because business is booming and demand for power is growing.

This clean electricity – made affordable by smart meters – brings only benefits it seems: Whereas the price of generator-produced electricity was around 1000 Naira per day, smart energy has brought that cost down to 116 Naira, typically.

International recognition

The success of this huge project has received deserved international recognition – Rensource won the Excellence in Climate Solutions award at the Transformational Business Awards ceremony (also known as ‘the Oscars of the renewables world’) which was held in June 2019, hosted by The International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group and Financial Times.

Since the completion of this project, four more markets now benefit from renewable electricity with a further fourteen scheduled. These developments are bringing welcome employment and training to enthusiastic young people who are really enjoying being involved with such a worthwhile scheme.

Rensource team after the inauguration ceremony! This project helped create many jobs for the youth of Nigeria.

Veeresh Anehosur of BOS AG says: The key to these mini grids and micro utility projects is that they need to be commercially attractive and sustainable in long-term. This is possible only if the technology works flawlessly over the years. ‘Low’ or ‘No’ system downtime and good system-level performance helps win customer confidence in the project – which decreases non-payment risk …a perfect scenario to recoup the initial investment. How do you ensure an efficient and cost-effective mini grid over time? One key element is to include lithium. Lithium has one of the least LCOE [Levelized Costs of Energy] compared to Lead acid. For projects where an initial low-capital investment is critical, a combination of Lead acid and Lithium can be used which gives a cost-effective high-performance solution.

Let’s have a look around the market, and hear how market traders are getting on with their new clean power:


How solar is changing Ghana’s real estate market ? If you are involved in the business of constructing a new building in Ghana, whether it’s a logistics center, a manufacturing plant or a multi-family residence in East Legon, most likely installing solar panels was mentioned at some point in the process. Solar panels are being integrated into more and more new constructions, and some cities like Tema and Accra are leading the way.

Our research also indicates that there is a high demand for 2-3 bedroom houses and the cost of land and litigation has pushed the direction of real estate developments into apartment complexes rather than single detached or semi detached homes. Rooftop solar is a great investment that can generate hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars and has a return on investment of just 3-5 years. It increases the life of the roof, and the value of the property. Every owner, architect and general contractor should consider how they can integrate solar in their new construction.

This renewable energy revolution is a global one and many new home owners in Ghana are currently considering going green in their next real estate project, .with an average daily effective sunshine hours of 5.5 hours, Ghana is a great place to go solar. There is generally a hunger for renewable energy options even though many do it for  environmental and energy security reasons. Another school of thought indicates that the rising costs of diesel and the effects of pollution are gradually giving diesel generators an “uncool”  or even “savage” tag. How solar is changing Ghana’s real estate market ?

But where do you start? Should you integrate solar into new construction or just wait until later?

No Muss, No Fuss

The first thing to note is that adding solar to a new building doesn’t mean you need to redesign the whole building. In fact, only minor adjustments, if any at all, will be needed. However, there are some things to consider that will make the process of switching to solar easier. By planning ahead and integrating solar during construction, you can tap into efficiencies during construction and save money.

An nocheski installer installing a Victron Energy multiplus compact inverter

For example, you should ensure the structural load of the roof can support a solar PV system. Most roofs can support solar without structural reinforcements, but if your current building design can’t support solar, you want to catch this early on before you begin construction.

Brighten up the Bottom Line

You can also integrate solar into your building design, saving money by making the solar installation process more efficient. A few examples of this include strategic designs that may consider ventilation, insulation and air conditioning units, and integrating the solar system’s electrical wiring and equipment into your building design. This type of planning will lower your overall cost of solar installation whilst adding an energy efficient tag to the project.

Get In and Get Out

The last thing to consider is that installing solar during construction minimizes the disruption to your operations. Once your building is operational, installing solar will have minimal impact on your day-to-day work, but it is always better to complete the installation before people are in the building. That way, you will be producing clean energy and saving money from day one. How solar is changing Ghana’s real estate market?

The Future is Bright

Thousands of companies install solar after the building is complete, but some forward thinking can make your solar installation cheaper and more efficient. The process of transitioning to solar can be daunting. As the CEO of Royal Estates Group, Mr. Stanley Owusu shared regarding the company’s recent transition to solar panels, “I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.” They turned to a Nocheski solar to help them navigate the design process, solar installation.The result is the installation of several Victron multiplus inverters in Oasis estates projects.The evidence is clear that whether you’re a business owner or a commercial real estate developer, solar is an excellent investment opportunity. Integrating solar into a building during construction only gives an added boost to the economics.Real estate stakeholders such as architects, builders and homeowners may contact us on 0244270092 or email [email protected] for inquiries and how they may benefit from expert advice for prospective real estate projects.