Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Power of the Sun (2)

Solar power, why are we not using it???

I've been doing a lot of research into solar power since my trip to Australia where it is widely used. I still don't understand why solar power is not widely used in Nigeria considering how bad the electricity situation is. There are still no signs of improvement despite the "billions" spent by the current administration since 1999.
There are so many generators in Nigeria (no thanks to cheap imports from China) that a lot of people have stopped relying on NEPA (or whatever it is called now) even as a back up supply.
I really (and i can't stress it enough) hate generators, the noise and pollution they produce drives me nuts. I just don't see it as a viable way of generating power when we have so much sunlight.

I'm aware of companies dealing in solar power in Nigeria, but the cost of installation is still very high. It shouldn't be too expensive as the prices of the major components - solar panels, deep cycle batteries and inverters, have been falling for the last few years.

I'm planning to install solar panels to provide electricity in my garden shed and i was quite surprised at the cost here in the UK, which is about £120 for the whole solar power kit. (this is the basic package : 10W Solar Power kit, this can provide power to two bulbs for a few hours)
Its just crazy, if its so easy and cheap to install a small unit here in England, where you'll be lucky to get 4 hours of sunlight (and that's in summer), then why not in Naija where no one bothers with the weather forecast because its always sunny, and we're talking 8 and half hours of sunshine every single day, especially in the north where the rainy season is short.

We need to wake up to the reality around us and stop importing f**king cheap generators from China, we need solar power and we need it now!! Oil is going to run out in probably the next 50 years and we're yet to invest in alternative sources of energy (apart from gas). In Australia, solar power is used to power the streetlights in the Sydney olympic village. In many parts of the US, solar power is now used as an alternative to the public supply. Even here in cloudy old England, solar energy is becoming a viable alternative as energy prices keep rising.

Its great that more people are now using power inverters, but it still relies on NEPA to replenish the charge. Replacing that part of the process with solar power should be our ultimate goal.

Depending on how successful i am with the installation in my garden shed, i'm going to install a similar one at our house in Lagos when i'm over there later in the year.
I've given up on the government ever providing constant electricity....

For anyone interested in Solar power, inverters etc (Nigeria: Warming up to solar energy) (David Brooke's solar power setup) (system set up) (Solar Technology International makers of Photovoltaic Solar Panels) (how to make a solar power generator)
(power inverters in nigeria)

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Emeka Okafor said...

You could take a look at this post on the Kenyan Solar Industry.

Anonymous said...

Really impressed by this post... I have been asking myself the same question when I was in Nigeria some few weeks ago. It's rather a shame that we fail to use our God-given resources....
Thanks for the useful web links.

Anonymous said...

For any one interested in solar panle , inverter , controller and batteries these are quite good

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading this article.
I live in nigeria, and i am wondering if you still did your installation in lagos and how it went.
pls post a rejoinder.

McKola said...

Very interesting.
How can i get a solar panel for home use.
Somebody help me.

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akin said...

Solar lighting at a small scale is cheap to run.
To provide provide the equivalent of say a kerosene lamp light output will cost under £5. You need a small .35w panel 2 to 3 AAA 1.2v rechargeable battery and 2 to 3 led lights.
You can scale the above up for higher outputs.
lookup or similar sited