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How Powerup Renewable’s customer focus won it BusinessDay Fastest Growing SME Award

 

Powerup Renewables, an indigenous renewable energy firm with a keen focus on customer satisfaction, was recently included in BusinessDay’s profile of the fastest-growing SMEs in Nigeria.

The company was founded by Chidi Obike, a technology professional with over 14 years’ experience working at multinational companies such as Ericsson and Huawei in senior sales management roles, before founding Powerup Renewables Ltd.

“I am very passionate about contributing my quota to the economic development and technological advancement of my beloved country Nigeria which is among the major reasons I established this company,” Obike said in an interview sent by mail.

According to Obike, the company has extensively designed and installed SolarPVs and hybrid systems for clients such as commercial, industrial and residential.

“Providing economically viable energy solutions to our customers while practicing high ethical business standards is what we do. We provide our services nationwide, with plans to expand into West-Africa soon,” he said.

In recognition of the company’s strides, it was awarded the BusinessDay Top 100 Fastest-Growing SMEs 2019 Award. Obike said it was a great honour to be recognised “on such a distinguished platform, and the award fires up our motivation to do more in helping to bring Nigeria out of her power crisis.”

It is estimated that over 600million people are without energy access in Sub Saharan Africa and energy poverty sees over 100 million people use kerosene, wood and other dirty energy sources in Nigeria. Powerup Renewables says it wants to address this need.

“Nigeria spends about $14billion annually on running generators for power supply, which is mostly inefficient, poor quality, noisy and polluting.

“Availability of reliable electricity supply is a key driver of economic growth, prosperity and social well-being of any nation. Nigeria has been plagued by the inadequate and unstable power supply for decades now from the national grid.  Over 50 percent of the population have limited or no access to the grid, with no solution in sight.

“Hence I decided to contribute my quota in service to my nation to solve this power crisis and put her on the path of economic recovery by setting up Powerup Renewables,” he said.

Obike counts on renewable energy systems, especially solar energy reputed to be reliable, giving 24hrs power supply, is quick to deploy, and cost-effective to achieve these goals.

“They can be easily deployed at locations where they are needed eliminating the need for expensive extension of the national grid to all areas.  It also greatly reduces or totally eliminates the money spent of fuel generators,” Obike said.

According to Obike, the company’s mission is to make renewable energy systems accessible and affordable in Nigeria and Africa, through continuous provision of innovative solutions tailored to this environment.

Some of the company’s activities include the deployment of Solar Power Systems for Homes and Offices/Companies/Industries, Solar borehole systems for water supply in farms, rural communities etc, solar streetlights and solar powered ATMs for Banks, filling stations, and construction of minigrids for the electrification of rural communities.

“We place a lot of emphasis on marketing as a core part of our business strategy. We do a lot of marketing across various channels such as social media, radio broadcast, and billboards. We also carry out extensive physical B2B and B2C sales activities,” said Obike.

On the power sector in Nigeria, Obike said there seems to be no end in sight to power issues from the national grid. The Nigerian power sector is still plagued by a badly implemented privatisation program, poor regulation, absence of a cost-reflective tariff and prohibitive cost of extending the national grid to cater to all communities in the country.

“Deployment of renewable energy nationwide is a sure means of solving the power issues plaguing Nigeria in the short and long term,” he said.

Obike also believes that solar energy will be able to displace the use of power generating sets that Nigerians seem addicted to, for supply of power to their home and business.

“There is a saying that once you taste solar power you cannot go back to generator as its operating expenses is almost zero, is noiseless and does not pollute the environment,” he said.

On the issue of multiple taxes and tariffs, Obike said that  the newly introduced import tariff on solar components which were increased to 10 percent, coupled with the Company Income Tax levied on solar entrepreneurs, contrary to the Nigerian Renewable Energy Action Plan 2017 and Companies Income Act 2017,  has negatively impacted the market by reducing sales and market penetration with resultant revenue loss.

“We call on the Ministries of Power and Finance to work together to revert the tariff hike so the much-needed rapid growth in the renewable industry can happen, this is critical for economic growth and the future of our beloved country Nigeria,” Obike said.

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