The ongoing blackouts taking place across Nigeria, placing excessive pressure on individual households and businesses leaving thousands without access to electricity calls for a proactive timely approach to solving the energy crisis problem.
In a report from the World Energy Outlook 2023, the pandemic and global energy crisis that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dealt a strong blow to progress on improving access to electricity. The number of people without access increased drastically, rising by around 6 million to roughly 760 million – with a high concentration primarily in sub-Saharan Africa.
However, data from the first half of 2023 shows a turnaround. The number of people in sub-Saharan Africa, without access to electricity is on track to stabilise in 2023 after rising for three consecutive years.
Additionally, surmounting debt burdens at national electric utilities and further constrained financial resources in Africa. As a result the number of people on the continent that gained electricity access via a grid connection dropped by up to 50% in 2022.
This has pivoted many into the position of considering alternative energy solutions, leading to the rise in sales of of alternative systems especially in West and East Africa. In Nigeria, the population without access to electricity is rapidly decreasing thanks to the rollout of increased solar home system sales.
Recently, WATT Renewable Corporation (WATT), an independently owned provider of hybrid solar solutions, was chosen by Airtel, to deliver over 32MW installed capacity of solar PV and storage across Nigeria. The contract will see solar power and lithium-ion battery storage installed across 600 sites delivered under an Energy-as-a-Service model.
Ensuring Greater Certainty and Uptime from Airtel Power Supply
The hybrid solar installations will offer Airtel greater certainty and uptime from its power supply, which will be vital as it expands its network coverage and introduces 4G and 5G technologies in the region.
The contract also reflects a unification of beliefs; WATT’s focus on sustainable development will not only support Airtel to achieve its sustainability, reliability and cost goals but also create holistic and sustained value for people and communities. By replacing diesel generation with WATT’s hybrid solar solution, local communities will benefit from improved air quality while Airtel’s scope 1 emissions will also be reduced.
Novel Enclosure Technology to Balance Systems
The work will include the introduction of novel enclosure technology for the balancing systems being installed across the sites, leading to better operating efficiencies across the sites.
Once installed, WATT will continue to operate and maintain the energy generation sites, ensuring both a continued supply of reliable, renewable energy, and an enduring relationship with Airtel.
Oluwole Eweje, Chief Executive Officer of WATT, commented: “Working with Airtel offers a brilliant opportunity to deliver renewable energy to the Nigerian telecommunications space, which will be essential to the continued sustainable growth of the sector.
Not only will it support Airtel’s sustainability agenda and improve air quality for adjacent communities, but it will also enhance the connectivity of millions of users. We’re excited to grow our expertise in telecommunications, a space where will continue to be active over the coming month and years.”
WATT is a private independent producer of clean energy technology, delivering sustainable energy solutions utilizing an innovative mix of photovoltaics (PV), advanced energy storage technology and genset.
It provides turnkey engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) and operations and maintenance (O&M) services across Africa, the United States and Canada.