Solar Power PHCN NEPA charge

I am very happy this morning. Resigning from my job means that I actually have to LIVE in my apartment. I am staying in the same apartment and all, but I always felt that it wasn't a HOME. More like a place to sleep and store my things. I never really had time to lay down roots over the last few years, with the mad schedule I kept. 

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Things have changed now and I have not only started furnishing the place (no, I have never owned furniture before, I have been using my parents' old old old - did I say old? lol! furniture). I will do a few posts about my new furniture. Maybe. I have to get over my private self first :). 

Anyway, this post is about​ one of the changes I have made. Spending more time at home meant that I had to resolve my power situation. I have always used a generator but the noise has always bothered me. It is too close to the house and there is no insulation so, although, it is relatively quiet compared to most of the other ones I have heard, I have struggled with even that moderate level of noise. I have been known to go to bed when the power goes off, just so that I don't have to turn on the generator and suffer the noise. And with my background in occupational and industrial safety, I have always felt uncomfortable with the fuel situation - storing it close to the house (potential for fire and explosions), the unsafe refills (potential for inhalation and close contact with toxic and carcinogenic materials). 

Anyway, long story short, I wanted a solution that would be self renewing and most importantly would not necessarily need input from PHCN/NEPA or a generator to work - meaning the basic inverter that requires charging via NEPA/PHCN was not going to work. It also had to be good for the environment. Can't get enough brownie points for doing good for the environment. 🙂

​My research threw up Solar Power as the solution. So, I began to do my research. What helped was the fact that my sister had just gotten hers installed a few months before and was able to share with me (actually, more like gush endlessly) about how happy she was with the endless electric supply she was now getting. 

Solar Power installation lagos Nigeria

Enter SolarKobo. I wound up using them for several reasons but what drew me to them was the fact that they were

  • upfront about giving me a ballpark figure for costs. You can figure out your own by playing with the SolarKobo Cost Estimator
  • they stated the brand names of equipment they were going to use for my installation so that I could look up the equipment and make sure I agreed.
  • my solar solution was tailor made to suit my current budget and future plans. They designed a solution just for me.
  • and. most importantly. They answered emails fairly quickly. Communication was good. 

Last week Saturday after all the emails back and forth and a few face to face discussions where they came to figure out where best to place the equipment, SolarKobo came to install. 

One thing you need to be aware of is that Solar installs are NOT cheap. At all. But they pay for themselves over time. That initial outlay is expensive. However, the way I have approached mine is that I figured that since it is a modular system, I could start small by purchasing one 250w Solar Panel and 2 batteries and add on to that over time to build capacity.

Ko cheap o!

I won't bore you with the details but I like the fact that it was done neatly (no lose wires hanging around) and professionally. The person who oversaw my install was a very knowledgeable Electrical Engineering graduate so I did not have to deal with an Artisan. ​They were a team of three but he oversaw things and I dealt with him pretty much the entire time. Guys, If you have dealt with Nigerian artisans on a consistent kind of basis (like we all need to do), then you know that this is pretty important.

I had to wait about 12hrs for the batteries ​to charge properly and voila! I could use my Solar install. So far, so very good. It feels slightly surreal to have power in my house when my neighborhood is in darkness. The best bit is knowing that my power is not dependent on any one source. One way or the other sha, my batteries are receiving power. 

The only thing I don't like about it is that there is a low hum coming from the inverter. I bet it is the sort of thing that most people won't even notice but I am a little sensitive to sounds, smells and even colors so yeah, I notice. But then again, most electronics make some noise - refrigerators, freezers e.t.c

Would I recommend SolarKobo? Without a doubt. I have done so many times already in this post. 

26 Comments

Berry Dakara

Solar is it! My parents have solar panels in their house and there’s electricity round the clock. Once the sun goes down, and the solar power is off, their inverter kicks in. I’ve always said that when I have my own place, I’ll have solar panels installed. I’ve also been looking into using containers to build. My, the plans I have for my house!

How do you deal with traffic and incessant honking, being sensitive to sound?

Berry Dakara Blog

Reply
Natural Nigerian

It is the way forward, indeed. But the Solar does not go off with the sun. It retains power in the batteries which can be used up during the night and whenever needed really.

I can accept environmental sounds when I am out and about – although I don’t much like them. But when I am in my house, where it is a lot quieter, little sounds are kinda amplified.

That container living is not bad at all. Saves a lot of money in the long run and can be done pretty well. I have seen a lot of fantastic options.

Reply
Chinelo

I also want to do container builder with solar panels. I’m trying to figure out the feasibility and costs for Lagos.

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Uzoma | Don't Touch the Hair

This is amazing. Solar is the way to go. Like Berry, I would like to have solar installed if I move to another apartment. I can’t stand the noise from the generator either. How long the inverter battery last? Is it able to power all your appliances?

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hi Uzoma, I have never gotten to empty, so I don’t know how long the batteries will last. The plan I chose will not power my freezer and or fridge. That is why I decided to get a high capacity inverter that will allow me to add panels and batteries as I go. It currently powers my TV (which I do not really watch a lot of), my fans and lights. I think it also has to do with how much load I have on it. I am bit more conscious now, turning off lights I do not need to help me conserve it e.t.c

Yes, it would be a great alternative if you ever moved. Are you going to move? I really like your current address. Very convenient. 🙂

Reply
Seyi

HI Natural, do you own your own apartment or you rent? I have looked up a solar company who flat out refuse to come for installation of you stay in a rented apartment. According to them, they might make modifications to d house which might not be permitted in a rented apartment.

Furthermore, I have been staying in Ekiti for sometime and I must say that we are so blessed but have become inured to these blessings as they needs some deep thinking to exploit them. My point, you will become darker if you stay here for a year.

Lots of sun, little cloud cover wide spaces etc. I hope that our govt can start some kind of scheme where we can get Solar installed upfront and pay just like a mortgage. If this is done, our power situation in the country will be on its way to been solved.

Congrats for taking this step.

Reply
Natural Nigerian

Hi Seyi, I rent. Solarkobo did not give any stress about that. It was generally assumed that any permissions would be received from me as the leaser of the flat. I am not sure it is in any service provider’s place to seek or implement any agreements on the tenant’s behalf.

LOL @ getting darker.

I am with you in hoping that the government does something. Abroad, there are loads of Solar “farms”. We should adopt that. For everyone’s good.

Reply
moji

presently mine is being installed can wait to put ikedc at one side. Solar energy way to go

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Eyiyemiolivia

Thank you @naturalnigerian for this. Will missed give solar kobo a shout soonest

Reply
Maureen

Congratulations! I am glad you get to live a little more in your home. Just so I understand clearly, during the day, your apartment is powered DIRECTLY by the sun while the batteries are being charged for night time use and then at night, it switches over to stored energy? If so, or either way, is the energy you get during the day enough to comfortably power your refrigerator and freezer?

Reply
Chinazo Anyanwu - SolarKobo rep

From SolarKobo,
Hi Maureen,
Fundamentally, solar panels generate power from the sun light…the energy is stored in the battery and used through the inverter as required. Which is why our systems are designed based on your usage pattern (for instance, you will require less backup capacity for a system powering a bulb between 7am – 6pm day-time, than a system powering same bulb used between 6pm – 6am night-time), other factors inclusive. Our custom system design for your appliances and usage pattern will ensure that the batteries stay fully charged for night-time usage while using the system during the day if desired for all-day usage.
Solar electricity is capable of powering any appliance at any time of the day, though inefficient for heating systems. This means that major economies has to be made in the household power requirements and usage pattern to optimize your needed solar system capacity and as such, cost. I hope this is clear enough.

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SisimiBlog

NN, thank you for your post. I immediately checked their website and got a quote for Opefarms. Immediately I received an email. Now that you have written about a large capacity inverter which we can add more panels, it’s looking more attractive. There is no electricity on the farm, we generate power from diesel generator for two hours everyday. It is definitely a strong option but for a farm, it is a major expense as it’s primarily for our residence. Just last week, another farmer told me of solar powered pumping machines. Things are definitely looking brighter. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Mercy

Hi, please where can I get sandal wood powder in lagos? And what is it called in yoruba or hausa? Thanks

Reply
Misi

Nice! I wanted solar panels when I moved back initially too, but they weren’t common at the time or so it seemed and the price quote was more in the billionaires-only range. You may want to prep for consecutive rainy days in the rain months. Reduced sunshine means less juice for the batteries to store. Thanks for sharing

Reply
Dafididafidi

Natural nigerian You mean the solar kobo guys did not inform u of the need to prep for rainy or overcast days?? That smacks of deliberately hiding information from the client to me

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Dafididafidi

Secondly they need to up their game in respect of heir face book page it s really sad no pics no updates nothing.
Meanwhile as a lion I say more power to their roar.

Reply
Ibukun

@NN well done, I always look forward to reading your post, there’s always something to learn! May God bless you greatly.

Reply

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