With the imminent fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria, many people are considering switching to solar home systems (SHS) for their households and small businesses.
It is instructive to note at this point, that there are some factors you must consider and take steps to carry out before setting up a solar home system.
This is especially important if you do not work in the renewable energy field or have a trusted contact in the field to guide your decisions. Take note of the following:
Beware of fake and unqualified solar developers and installers
Due to the growth of renewable energy growth in Nigeria and other parts of the world, many people out there call themselves developers without knowing anything about how renewable energy systems work. They are “hustlers” who are just in the field for the money. Watch out for two factors when dealing with such people.
Their inability to give specific answers to your specific questions. For instance, a qualified developer should be able to tell you the kind of solar panel and solar inverter you need for your load if you give him/her the details of the appliances you have in your home or office. Be sure to always ask specific questions and ask for warranty service.
They charge less than required. Do not get excited when a solar developer gives you rates that are way less than what obtains in the market. This is why it is very important that you do your research first before meeting any developer, so you can have an idea of the average prices.
The fake developers charge less than market prices, to rope you in and give you substandard services, which end up costing more because it just won’t work.
Beware of many fake products in the renewable energy space
Pay attention to the specifications of products because some of these products may not have the capacity that their seller claims they have. If you purchase the products, you will not get value for your money.
Sometimes, the sellers of these products are aware that the products are fake. Some of the products are duplicate products from China and India. This is because those who duplicate them are aware that the authentic products are also from those countries.
It is easy to become a victim, but the way to prevent it is to buy products from verified renewable energy companies. If your purchase is based on a referral from someone who can vouch for the validity of their products, that’s a plus.
Do you have enough space?
Many people have encountered space challenges when setting up solar home systems. Some have made purchases, only to find out they cannot install the panels and batteries due to the lack of space.
Greenage Technologies Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Esumeh told Nairametrics that prospective SHS users should consider the kind of roofing their building has as well as ensuring they have enough space to keep the accessories that come with an SHS.
Expect to be disappointed by natural occurrences
There is little effect of wear and tear on solar panels as they can last up to 25 years. Also, lithium-ion batteries can last up to seven years. It is unlikely, but expect that something could happen to damage your SHS.
So, if it happens, you are able to cope better and come up with solutions. According to Esumeh, thunder strikes can sometimes damage the SHS and there is nothing you can do except replace the system as there is no one to blame.
For the record: Pay attention to your load. Always be aware of the points you have in your home or office before meeting with certified and active renewable energy companies and experts. This will help them evaluate and let you know the best plan for you.