This year, Lagos celebrates her 50th anniversary with the final day of celebrations held on Saturday, May 20th. On that same day we held the fifth meetup, and the second of 2017: V2.2. The day was blessed with rain.
The theme for the event was solar energy and the business models currently in use in this market. Different from our previous events, we had designed this as a discussion forum/fireside chat between two players in this space. For this, we had Mustapha Abokede (Sunstretch Africa) and Muyiwa Kolawole (Rensource Energy) drawing on their experience in starting and running companies in this field. The session was moderated by Kayikunmi Sogo, a renewable energy expert.
Discussions on the day ranged from the challenges of running a solar business in Nigeria, to types of business models that work, to the reasons why solar is the option amidst the other forms of renewable energy. Mustapha, whose company has their office running on solar power, spoke about a number of issues including the key to making solar power more widespread and acceptable: changing people’s perception of solar energy itself. He explained what his company is trying to do with their solar experience centers where people can come experience and learn about it.
‘The key to making solar power more widespread is to change the perception of solar energy itself ‘
Sunstretch Africa and Rensource Energy are focused on the solar option because it is predominantly available in everywhere in Nigeria compared to the other forms of renewable energy. Also, solar has become the cheapest source of energy after overtaking wind energy late last year. With all the structural inadequacies with the power grid system in Nigeria, it made sense that this option was explored.
Muyiwa spoke about the projects that his company is involved with and the long term goals they were pursuing. He also discussed the “Power-as-a-service” model that his company is currently exploring. He lamented that the investments, in terms of grants, going into Nigeria from foreign aid bodies was to deploy solar in places that offered no economic advantage to the companies handling them. For example, while deploying solar stations to villages is a good humanitarian gesture, it isn’t the best in terms of running a business because the users in that location may not be able to pay for it. Based on data gathered by both companies, we see that rich people spend less on energy as a percentage of their income.
‘the investments, in terms of grants, going into Nigeria from foreign aid bodies was to deploy solar in places that offered no economic advantage to the companies handling them’
In terms of solutions to some of the power issues in the country, micro grids and distributed systems were discussed. Kayikunmi shared his experience working on a project in the Netherlands that involved micro grids. The segment ended with questions from the audience and then the technical segment commenced.
For the technical segment , Hamza spoke on HackChef, an open-source recipe guide designed as a pot cover that can assist amateur cooks to make meals from recipes seen online. He walked us through the current phase of work done on both the software and hardware parts and also what was remaining to to be done. The event ended after this segment.
We hope to welcome you on the 19th of August for our next event; we are discussing manufacturing.