Can we call 24 hours of reliable uninterrupted power a Nigerian dream?
Here’s my observation; 8 out of 10 people making inquiries about a solar PV system start out listing literally all their home appliances (e.g 5 Air conditioning units, 2 water heaters, 4 fridges, 2 washing machines, 20 bulbs and 4 TVs), requesting a solar PV system that can power all their appliances at once for 24 hours a day. Sounds like an ideal situation right? While this might sound ideal, more often, the chances that you have all your appliances on at the same time is quite slim.
Depending on your preference, while you sleep, you either have your lights on or off, your washing machine definitely doesn’t stay on all day. On a cold morning, a warm bath and a warm cup of tea are desirable hence your air cooling units would be off. On a sunny afternoon, a cold drink and a cooling unit would do the trick; observations from load demand on national grids go on to buttress this showing a higher power consumption within certain times which are called peak periods. This proves that our power demands vary from time to time.
Usually, the outcome of requests like the one above is expressions of bewilderment as they find the needed array size to be much larger than they imagined and the price (going berserk) way beyond their expectation. The implication of such large PV systems that are requested would be energy inefficiency and would resort to a lot of wastage on days Power is underutilized.
With solar you only get to pay for the components needed to harness the sun’s energy, hence how much of the sun you tap is dependent on the size of your components, and here’s why solar is different, unlike conventional sources, your fuel (the Sun) doesn’t deplete neither is it paid for. Also unlike some other renewable sources e.g Hydro which might require the installation of heavy and capital intensive machinery, you can start small with solar, and scale up as the need arises.
For those who can’t afford to take on the investment at once, here are a few tips.
Evaluate your needs; ask yourself questions such as “am I getting solar to be my main source of power or as a backup?”
How much power do I actually consume (need) daily? Your generator size, fuel usage and hours of use can be used to estimate this, also you can get an estimate from your utility bill/use, if you buy 509KWH monthly, it means you consume an average of 500/30=16.67 KWH daily
How much is my current budget?
Armed with this knowledge, consult with a credible Solar energy company to design a solar PV system tailored to your home or business energy need.