BusinessDay

Firm tackles energy cost, begins solar housing devt

As rising energy cost continues to be a huge challenge in most Nigerian homes, real estate developers are innovating along that line, building houses that lower energy cost for home buyers.

One of such developers is Victoria Crest Homes which recently launched a housing estate that is 100 percent powered by solar system.

The estate, which is the second phase of the company’s Citadel Views Estate, is located along Ogombo Road in Lekki Scheme 2 close to the popular Abraham Adesanya Estate.

The first phase of the estate, known as Citadel Views 1.0, was launched in 2021 when 400 units of homes were delivered. This second phase, known as Citadel Views 2.0, hopes to deliver 5,000 solar system powered housing units in the next five years,

“We are doing the 2.0 to reduce housing deficit in Lagos and Nigeria. The idea is to reduce the cost of living and we believe solar system is one way of doing that as one wouldn’t be needing to buy the very expensive diesel,” Nduka Jones, the company’s head of retail marketing, told BusinessDay.

Jones, who spoke exclusively with BusinessDay on the side-line of the launching of the solar-powered estate recently, noted that solar system was all about nature and it produces light.

In his opening speech at the launching event, Kennedy Okonkwo, the company’s Founder/CEO, noted that Citadel Views was the first estate in Nigeria to run fully on solar energy, adding that the company was committed to building sustainable housing.

He revealed that the solar power initiative was their response to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and also to the rising cost of diesel. He noted that the increase in energy cost has led to various challenges in housing estates, where residents are constantly meetings with facilities managers.

Read also: Property developers edgy as rising material costs cripple projects

“Before now, power was sold at N70 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in most housing estate, but estate managers are today selling power at N280/kWh, which is highly unsustainable. As inflation is increasing in Nigeria and globally, the pockets of individuals are being drained because people need energy to power their homes,” Okonkwo said.

He said that the decision to build the solar energy housing was their own way of make living affordable for people, explaining that “affordability is built into how the estate is maintained and sustained and the way to go is renewable energy.”

He explained further that each of the estates was fitted with a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) turbine that comes in handy when there is low solar energy due to rainfall, adding that they had signed a long-term contract with a solar supplier to ensure the systems were durable.

For an estate that is targeted at young urban professionals and those of the middle class, Jones said that top-notch infrastructure was a major consideration for them.

“Citadel View Estate 2.0 is an eco-friendly estate; here we have facilities like swimming pool, a gym which runs 24 hours and air-tight security. We also have a range of infrastructure that includes good drainage, good roads, etc. Infrastructure is number one for us,” he said.

For home buyers, the company offers flexible payment plan and also has mortgage facilities for buyers that cannot raise all the cash to buy. “You could do a payment for as long as 12 months; you could do a down payment of 20 – 30 percent and spread the balance over 12 months,” Jones said.

He added that if a buyer cannot even meet up with the 12 months and he has a good job, he could choose a mortgage banker and start paying the mortgage. Buyers, he said, should be rest assured that they would always deliver because “we had delivered other projects and we are at Citadel Views to deliver.”

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