The removal of petrol subsidies in Nigeria has opened a huge market for distributed energy solutions, says Bill Gates, an American billionaire philanthropist.
“I see a huge energy transition opportunity where distributed solar solutions like Arnergy’s displaces gasoline generators for millions of SMEs in Nigeria given the recent fuel subsidy removal,” Gates said during a recent tour of the Arnergy manufacturing facility in Lagos.
Bill Gates, Founder of Breakthrough Energy Ventures & Co–Founder of Microsoft, Arnergy management, financiers, and industry experts share ideas on prospects of adopting renewable energy in Nigeria.
They said there needs to be more partnerships with financiers and collaboration with industry leaders to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy in Nigeria following the removal of petrol subsidies and anticipated increase in electricity tariffs.
Realizing a large number of Nigerians rely on petrol generators, Gates said that it is a huge thing for the renewable energy market.
He also pointed out that financing customers and reducing the cost of systems will be critical for scale.
Femi Adeyemo, CEO of Arnergy, said solutions like the modular Arnergy 5000 lithium battery energy storage systems (BESS) and its proprietary energy management hardware and Solarbase software which were developed by the company’s local engineering team could provide respite.
He said the technology allows financiers, channel partners, and consumers to lease and pay for energy at a cost cheaper than current spend on diesel and petrol generators. Its real-time Internet of Things (IoT) remote monitoring and control of the power systems allow remote operation anywhere in the world from the Android and IoS platforms.
He emphasized that their cost-competitive and durable technology can provide viable alternatives, enabling numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and businesses to transition from fuel generators to BESS, hedging themselves against the effect of petrol subsidy removal.
“Our goal is to ensure that millions of SMEs are provided a platform to transition their businesses seamlessly to clean energy on the back of the petrol subsidy removal,” Adeyemo said. “With the solutions we have developed, SMEs can see 30 to 40 percent savings monthly compared to petrol expenses.”
For Rotimi Thomas, CEO, SunFi, it is not just accessed to finance or how cheap the product is but the speed in providing renewable energy to customers and the trust the customers have in purchasing a reliable product with a great customer experience that Arnergy offers. “Customers want it now. That speed and the trust that the system won’t break are two important factors for the customers,” he said.
Bunmi Adekore, Partner, of Breakthrough Energy said that the macro-economic environment enables the acceleration of renewable energy. “The challenge that needs to be uncovered is to get more commercial banks to participate in financing the customers removing the upfront cost barrier,” he said.
According to Adekore, modularization and decentralization in Nigeria’s energy sector are key.
Tubosun Alake, former special adviser on innovation & technology to the Lagos State governor, said the central control of the grid over the past couple of decades led to underinvestment. Now that there is unbundling going on with the new electricity act, there is a big opportunity for renewable energy to ramp up and play a big part in the country’s energy infrastructure development.