By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
German based company, PAN Africa Solar will employ up to 1,000 people for solar jobs in Nigeria as the company is currently developing a 75 megawatts projects with solar PV in Katsina state, fully supported by the State and Federal Government of Nigeria.
Marcus Heal, CEO of Pan Africa Solar, made this known to newsmen at a press conference in Abuja.
Marcus said during construction of the project, it will be employing thousands of people as it aims to have one million household in Nigeria that will be using its homescale solar units in the next five years. PAN Africa Solar has become the first company to sign the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and also the first to obtain the license in Nigeria.
He said work is expected to commence on the sites in January/February 2018 and the build programme would be approximately 9 months. The project will be completed within the time of President Muhammad Buhari’s administration and the solar project will provide enough power for 1.1 million people in Nigeria.
According to Marcus Heal, PAN Africa Solar has a second business scale which is known as PASS B-BOX.
It is a home scale pay-as-you-go project where it now have a few hundred units which started 6 months ago. The units have been deployed in Kano and the company have also completed the pilots.
He said his company looks to expand its business across the northern region and Nigeria as a whole as the solar systems is a power source for millions of Nigerians living in the rural communities that doesn’t have access to the grids where perhaps their income is $1 or $2 usd per day. He adds: “Our
company is developing a utility scale business for the people so that they will have access to the grids through its home scale business, pay-as-you-go system”.
He further explained that the company also have a solar system that provides power for the people for about $7 usd per month so after $30 to $60 dollars of their income, they can only spend $7 dollars a month for power. The solar system can power the lights in the house, radio, USB charger, small TVs plus DSTV and if they have a smartphone, they can plug it into the TV for internet connection.
“This solar innovation is providing electricity to the people in the nothern region of Nigeria and is taking them away from living in complete darkness which also enables them to have access to internet for education and health prospects,” Marcus said.
He also said that the company has a solar system that can provide power to the people for about $7 usd per month. So after $30 to $60 dollars of their income, they can only spend $7 dollars a month for power.
Investing in Nigeria:
PAN Africa Solar is bringing foreign and direct investment to Nigeria through private investors, Solar Nigeria Programme which is known as a DFID organisation, DEG – Deutsche Investitions, and other investment groups.
Marcus said the company’s utility scale project, received a foreign investment equity. The project is basically $140 Million USD projects which brings in $110 Million USD from the lenders and $30 Million USD of freight equity which is coming from PAN Africa and its joint develop partners, JCN Capital. He adds: “Our company is also working with another group known as Climate Investor One which is also bringing in substantial funding into the projects”
Marcus said solar have a bad reputation in Nigeria because people buy solar panels and inverters but after one to two years, the inverter will experience some technical problems which will make the customer to be unable to use the solar panels again. This is a very terrible situation.
“As part of our company’s top priority, PAN Africa Solar is keen to developing an affordable and quality solar systems for electricity generation in Nigeria through connecting a single unit to an household and the customers pay $7 USD per month for the maintenance of the solar system. Basically, the customers are paying the $7 to maintain the life span of the solar system,” Marcus said
PAN AFRICA has a call center in Abuja which the customers can contact if anything goes wrong on the system and the company’s technicians usually respond promptly to resolve the problems.
The price of its standard PASS B-BOX is usually charged in Naira from N2,600 to N3,850 per month. The product is a 50 watts system and it doesn’t work for the urban people because they use generators to power most of their electrical systems in their homes.
Marcus Heal further explained that the solar systems works for millions of people living in the rural areas where there aren’t roads and cannot be seen in Google maps. He adds: “Our company’s technicians go into this rural communities by providing electricity to the people and this is the first time that they have been served with electricity as they will no longer go far away to buy touch lights and charge their phones. It is a marvelous thing that our company is doing for the people living in the rural communities”
PAN Africa Group is working closely with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in order to achieve its strategic growth plan as they have huge interest to provide solar system to the entire northern part of Nigeria. The company also have a team of sales agent both male and female given the mandate to go around the communities to sensitize the people on how they can use the solar system more effective and efficiently.
Marcus said one of the main core of PAN Africa’s business is to provide power to customers through monthly subscription which is a warranty for the company to keep maintaining the solar system. If the system have any technical problems, PAN Africa takes responsibility to fix the problems at no cost.
He said, “PAN Africa Solar have the ambition to build a reprocessing plant for solar batteries in Nigeria. The batteries will be reprocessed in-country and it will create more job opportunities in Nigeria”.