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90m Nigerians without electricity supply means market for Solar Home Systems

The Solar Home Systems (SHS) market has gathered significant momentum and is transforming the lives of rural communities starved of electricity supply from the national grid, Beyond the Grid, a new documentary show.

According to the World Bank, nearly 1.5 billion people are estimated to lack electricity supply in the world, half are in Africa. Nigeria alone is estimated to have over 90 million people living without electricity supply. This is potential market for SHS.

“Osoogun in Oyo state is a rural community I recently documented. They are connected to the national grid, yet never enjoyed electricity. Sadly no light for over one year, but now they’re very excited that solar home systems (SHS) will be provided for them” Adesoji Adejolu, creative director at Ultrashot, a media production and event streaming company, said on TweetChat under the aegis of #GridlessAfrica.

Adejolu strives to use cinematic experience, #BeyondTheGridMovie to investigate the various ways decentralised renewable energy bridges electricity supply gaps and provides an alternative source of power in Nigeria.

“In the next 5-10 years, I believe there will be a significant increase in the deployment of decentralised renewables in Nigeria and Africa especially in the off-grid areas ravaged by energy poverty. There is a huge market with a lot of economic potentials” Adejolu said.

Access to finance is one of the major limitations to the rapid development of solar energy in Africa. But while traditional methods of obtaining project capital can be very limiting. Today’s world of micro-investors on platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo has paved the way for new platforms like SunExchange.

“What that allows is for individuals like you and I too invest as much or as little without the constraints and hurdles banks throw at start-up entrepreneurs. You can invest in a cell, a panel or an entire array” David Hampson, emerging leader in the renewable energy sector said during August 9 TweetChat organised by Gridless Africa.

With sustained investment and expansion, in ten years, there would be larger networks of micro-grids working together and independent from the grid. Maybe even integrate to the network. It would be like Europe during the 1800s with the industrial revolution and coal fired generation.

“With low electrification rates across sub-Saharan Africa, micro-grids can provide a relief on existing networks and no longer need to transport electricity over great distances increasing efficiency. Generate where it is needed” Hampson said.

One example of where mini-grids are providing electricity and making lives better is Burundi. There, solar powered ovens are providing business opportunities for women. Not only economically with a bakery business, but also with no longer requiring firewood, quality of life/health increases due to no smoke inhalation.

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