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Thinking of dumping PHCN? Here is how

By Afam Nnaji on June, 23 2008

Views: 4,058

Seems a lot of people are tired of PHCN to the extent that the common request these days from Nigerians is for solar panels or wind turbines so they can generate their own electricity.

When reminded that even the poor state of power supply in Nigeria is enough to guarantee steady power supply you are told that some of them have not had light for 1 week at a stretch and that it is not unusual.

To be honest I feel for people like this because I cannot imagine a world where you cannot have access to electricity when you need it.

I don't even have a generator in my office and have depended on my inverter backup system for 4 years now. At home, I have a small 950VA Tiger generator that I use once in a while sometimes once in 4 days, 1 week or 2 weeks because I also make use of inverter backup at home.

Maybe I am able to depend on this because power supply is not that terrible in my office and at home.

Considering the fact that the average monthly bill I get at home is about N300.00 (including the compulsory N130.00) and in the office in about 20 months now we have not used up to N5,000.00 because we are still using the card we recharged the second time around January 2008.

Based on these facts it will be a sheer waste of money for me to consider solar solution as an alternative to PHCN.

The cost savings I get from switching to energy efficient products is much and my neighbors always marvel at my bills when they come and of course I have a functional meter and PHCN is kind enough to read it every month so I get to pay for energy that I consume and not based on some crazy estimate.

But for those that are not this lucky with PHCN here is a short guide on what you need to do to be able to provide power to your home or office that is if you do not want to use generators.

1. Change all your regular incandescent bulbs (40W - 200W) to energy saving bulbs (5W - 10W)
2. Get plastic blade based fans (average of 50W)
3. Avoid energy wasting appliances like Plasma TVs, choose LCDs as they are more energy efficient
4. Get energy efficient freezers (130W) for 260L

When you must have crashed your energy need then you can decide to get either solar panels or wind turbines.

Solar panels are expensive but they require very little or no maintenance once installed.

Wind turbines are cheaper than solar panels but unless you have your own compound with enough clearance both horizontal and vertical from the turbine to avoid turbulence you should forget it.

For every single appliance you want to power calculate the energy need per day. For example

10 nos 5W energy saving bulbs x 8 hrs = 400W a day
1 no freezer (130W) x 12hrs = 1560W a day
2 nos fans (50W) x 12 hrs = 1200W a day

Total = 3160W

So you will be needing solar panels or wind turbines that can produce at least 5000W a day considering the fact that the sun does not shine all the time and you need to make provision for the time when the sun isn't shining.

We are lucky to see 7 - 10hrs of sunlight in Nigeria anyway.

Here comes our good old friend, inverter ( to convert the DC to AC) and batteries to store the energy produced by the solar panels or wind turbines.

As a matter of fact if you can get solar panels or wind turbines that can produce 5 times your energy need do not hesitate to get them as this will guarantee that you can still enjoy electricity when the sun will be on leave.

If money is not an issue and you have a large compound to yourself then a hybrid system (a combination of solar panels and wind turbines) would be perfect.

Get solar panels and wind turbines from known brands and seek professional help during installation.

Electricity is dangerous, do not monkey with it as some mistakes could be fatal. Get professional help and don't play kalakalo with your life.


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