The Federal Government of Nigeria in partnership with Azuri Technologies today, Tuesday, January 31 officially unveiled a PayGo Solar Home System aimed at providing affordable power to rural households without access of electricity from the grid.
Off-the-grid communities in Nigeria currently rely on candles and kerosene lanterns for lighting. The Solar Home System will replace those with energy efficient lamps and in addition provide USB port for charging mobile phones and power a radio.
It is estimated that over 70 million Nigerians live in off-the-grid communities. A solution like this will probably improve the quality of their living. The project has run on pilot since 2015 and will be launched initially in Northern Nigeria before nationwide availability.
Azuri off-grid solar home system can provide up to 8 hours of power and consumers make payment via their mobile phone with mobile money.
The Azuri solar home system consists of a few components:
- Four Bright Energy Efficient Lamps
- 10W Solar Panel
- USB port with cable and connectors
- Azuri Quad HomeSmart Unit with built-in Batteries
How Azuri Paygo Solar Home System Works
The 10W solar panel is mounted on the roof and collects energy from the sun to charge the built-in Lithium batteries and provide power during the day.
At night, the system uses the built-in battery to power the lamps, radio, and charge mobile phone.
The Solar Home System comes with Azuri’s patented HomeSmart technology. HomeSmart tracks a customer’s usage pattern and optimizes performance to deliver power when it is needed.
HomeSmart will also monitor the weather pattern and put a higher priority on charging the batteries if the weather is cloudy.
But, all these will not work until you pay for it. The Solar Home System works on a PayGo model. You get the hardware free, but pay a certain amount weekly or monthly to access power.
Failure to pay will result to locking you out of the system. Normal supply resumes once they pay. Payment is made via a mobile phone, probably by sending a USSD code.
Consumers who get the Solar Home System through Azuri’s partnership with the Government of Nigeria will pay for 36 months after which they must have fully paid for the hardware.
Once payment is complete, the system will unlock allowing the consumer to freely enjoy electricity without payment. The consumer can also at this point demand for a bigger solar home system that will power more devices.
About 20,000 Azuri Home Solar Systems are expected to be deployed during the project. The scheme is also expected to create 500 direct jobs and up to 5000 indirect jobs
Who Is The Solar Home System For?
This project is for off-grid communities i.e. communities that do not have electricity infrastructure from PHCN.
Another important point is that the power capacity of the system is too small to satisfy the energy appetite for most of us in the cities.
The Solar Home System offers just 10W solar panel, which supplies just enough power for lighting, charging your mobile phone, and powering a radio. It will not power your TV (at least not most of the models in the market).
The solar home system is for people with very limited energy needs, which is probably why it is targeted at off the grid communities.