May 11th, 2016 I scrolled through my twitter feed, and came across the trend #fuelsubsidyremoval, #145Naira.
I immediately began to think of the impacts the increase in Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called Petrol, would have on various socio-economic aspects of the country, especially small businesses and personal power generation.
Electrical power outage has always been a problem in Nigeria since its first generation for public use in 1896. This has caused several problems in industrialization, technological advancement, health and standard of living.
Nigeria’s demand for power generation is on the increase and its shortfall has led to the use of alternative power generation, with every neighbourhood owning about 60-70 petrol powered generators.
In the first quarter of 2016, fuel shortages led to a fluctuation of pump price from N86 to as high as N200. In May 2016, a review in petrol price led to stabilization at N145/Litre. Petrol generators are fast becoming a luxury. Hence the need for alternative power generation sources.
Innovative alternatives to fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy resources continue to be developed today. Though many involve significantly large set up costs and some are still in developmental stages, and there are also concerns for clean energy production.
We can optimistically hope that they’ll help steer power production towards a more sustainable energy future, with Nigeria’s goal to attain 7% renewable energy usage by 2025.
Here are a few alternative power sources for you to consider:
a. Mini power sources
These are battery back-up systems which serve up to one hour of power for your devices such as mobile phones, laptops, computer systems, telephone lines, home theatre systems during a power failure.
They protect against a power surge, and prevent equipment/device downtime. Such devices include; power banks, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). A power bank of wattage 30,000mAh goes for N3500, While a UPS with 1.5A goes for N18,700.
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This is an electrical device that converts direct current into alternating current. An inverter device requires a stable power source capable of supplying enough electric current for the intended power demands of the system.
The input/output voltage depends on the design and purpose of the inverter. An example of a consumer grade inverter is the pure sine wave inverter; this is because Switch-mode power supply (SMPS) devices, such as personal computers or DVD players, function on quality modified sine wave power.
A typical connection for this alternative power source is to attach DC powered Batteries bank (stored power) worth about N70,000/one to the inverter which is converted to Electricity for home/office use (AC power), for batteries charging purpose, the inverter system is also connected to PHCN electrical supply. A sine-wave inverter with a range of 1 KVA-20 KVA sells for N35,000.
c. Diesel generators
Diesel has recently become cheaper than PMS at the current pump price of N135/Litre. It is more economical than fuel, this is because a diesel engine burns diesel at a slower rate and vice versa.
Diesel generators are also sound proof in nature. A typical diesel 5.0kva generator with 15 litres tank and 9.5 hours running time sells for N310,000.
d. Solar energy systems
Solar energy is known as energy gotten from the sun that is converted into thermal or electrical energy. This system converts energy harnessed from sunlight into electrical energy using solar panels.
Solar panels are electrical devices consisting of a large array of connected solar cells with abilities to absorb energy from the sun.
A 12V/80W POLY crystalline SOLAR PANELS with cell efficiency of up to 30% is worth N32,000. These solar panels in turn while connected to a charge controller charges the DC battery banks, the AC inverters which are connected to the batteries convert the supplied current for power generation.
For proper energy harness, Solar panels should be orientated to receive the maximum amount of daily sunlight, has your house got a roof facing the sun most of the day?
What amount of electricity do you need to power your load? The easiest way to determine your household’s use is to look at your electricity bills.
d. Other energy sources such as hydro-power systems, biomass power generators, nuclear and wind energy are not discussed because these are major projects to be tackled by the Government.
However, with significant research, policies and investments in the power sector, cheaper alternatives will be available to the average Nigerian.
NOTE: The issue of power generation is never cheap, but these are long term investments, and you can’t put a price on comfort!
You can achieve a reasonable amount of savings just installing energy efficient bulbs, appliances and implementing other energy saving measures; this could include turning off electrical appliances when leaving the house.
Always use a qualified professional to connect the electric components.
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