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Poor Power Supply: Startups to the Rescue



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  • Poor Power Supply: Startups to the Rescue

Poor power supply is affecting economic growth. Tech startups are tackling the problem, reports Daniel Essiet.

Energy is an essential factor for reducing poverty and boosting economic growth. But across Nigeria, there is inadequate energy to spur the much- needed development.

About 70 per cent of households are either off-grid or have a ‘bad grid’ connection with less than four hours of electricity per day, according to a report by Dalbery.

To this end, analysts say expanding electrification is an important step towards building an economy. This has created opportunities for tech startups, which are preoccupied with delivering transformative change through solar and other forms of alternative energy.

Now, there are entrepreneurs powering solar street lights and solar projects. Some are processing waste into biodiesel and solar energy.

One of them is Quaint Global Energy Solutions. The firm develops renewable power projects and provides solar energy solutions to rural Nigeria. The company has been given a grant by the United States Trade and Development Agency for a solar power project that they are developing in northern Nigeria.

Quaint Global Energy Solutions is working with California-based Tetra Tech. On its completion, the project is expected to bring 50 megawatts of clean energy to Kaduna State and generate more than $160 million revenue.

Another one is Rensource Energy, aimed at delivering affordable solar energy to households and businesses to replace the use of generators.

It introduced a segmented subscription-based business model in March 2017 that enabled customers prepay for energy, rather than own the infrastructure. This means customers can save a lot of money by switching to solar energy. The system uses a combination of long-lasting lithium-based batteries and solar energy. The service is offered through a mobile-based user interface that allows its customers to pay their bills, and to understand how they use their power.

Since its inception in 2015, Rensource has managed well over 1,500 customers.

Last year, the firm secured a loan of €500,000 from Trine Financial Limited.

Early last year, the renewable energy startup also secured $3.5 million in bridge financing to expand the business. In 2016, Rensource had secured a previous funding of about $1.1 million, bringing its total investments from external funding to $5.5 million.

Other startups have also entered the sector. But that of OneWattSolar, a startup based in Lagos, has been significant. It allows Nigerians to pay for solar energy with Blockchain tokens.

The company allows customers to purchase tokens in naira using the platforms of third party tech finance firms.

It seeks to help people pay for the energy using Blockchain without owning the solar infrastructure that provides the power.

OneWattSolar uses blockchain in three ways: raises funds to buy and install the solar systems, helps users track energy use and allow users buy energy credits for their homes.The startup targets customers who spend about N10, 000 monthly or more on their energy bills. There are plans to target other customer segments.

So far, it has a target of 12,000 homes or businesses with clean solar energy.

OneWattSolar systems comprise solar panels, internet-enabled meter system and inverter battery technology. The system components are being custom-designed specifically to meet the needs of its customers as against buying ready-made solar panels and equipment. OneWattSolar pays for, installs, owns and operates the Solar Residential Energy Unit (SHS). OneWattSolar is working with independent solar installers within GoSolar Africa’s network.

OneWattSolar was founded by GoSolar Africana renewable energy startup also based in Lagos that provides clean energy to households, businesses, schools, non-profits and government organisations.

GoSolar Africa is led by Femi Oye who founded the company in 2010.

Another firm is AllOn, an impact investing firm established to stimulate the development of collaborative partnerships for innovative solutions that facilitate increased access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy sources in Nigeria.

AllOn CEO, Dr. Wiebe Boer Boer said: “The energy gap in Nigeria is the foundation for so many of the country’s economic and social development problems.”

He said power distribution is a major stumbling block to development with firms seldom making it beyond big cities due to high costs of installation.

He said the huge energy access gap in the country means the opportunities to address the gap were also considerable.

With limited grid coverage, the Allon chief noted that many Nigerians relied on electricity generators.

He stated that with Nigeria’s increasing energy requirements to achieve its developmental goals, there was the need to find and support clean energy innovators to build successful and sustainable businesses around their solutions.

He said many small scale firms and startups have ventured into the sector and can explore its vast amount renewable energy potential.

Boer explained that many entrepreneurs were rising to the challenge of leveraging the off-grid power revolution to provide electricity for millions of people in parts of the country through innovative and adaptive technologies and business models borrowed from outside.

One area that offers sustainable investment opportunities for entrepreneurs, he said, is solar energy due to advances in technologies.

Boer said the mini-grids and solar home systems that will save Nigerians billions yearly.

He said the company focuses on energy efficiency and renewable energy and aims to help startups develop practical solutions, test-bed the solutions in actual projects, and build their track record.

He said his organisation is ready to support startups to bring lighting solutions to off-grid communities who live in informal settlements and rural areas across the country.

According to him, there are opportunities for small businesses to invest in solar cells, earn income and help bring electricity to areas in need.

He said startups could provide low-cost, environmentally-friendly power sources for lighting, cooking, among others.

Boer said the company would invest in entrepreneurs that could provide electricity to households without going through the complexities of building a big generation and transmission infrastructure.

He said funders were searching for innovators in the sector, to expand off-grid energy access for underserved markets, through solar, wind and biogas technologies.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Digital Economy: China Seeks More Partnerships With Nigeria

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr. Chu Maoming had advocated for more robust China-Nigeria partnerships in the Digital Economy.



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The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr. Chu Maoming had advocated for more robust China-Nigeria partnerships in the Digital Economy.

Investors King learnt that the Chinese Consular General has called for enhanced strategic cooperation between Nigeria and China. The diplomat noted that such a corporation on the digital economy will help to address the challenges confronting Nigeria. 

Speaking in Lagos during the 2022 Africa-China Economic Partnership Agenda Conference, (ACEPAC), Mr Chu Maoming noted that China and Nigeria are the largest economies respectively in Asia and Africa, and both countries are actively developing their digital economies with notable success.

Maoming further stated that Nigeria is one of the most important economies in Africa and Lagos is the economic, financial and technological centre of Nigeria. He, therefore, seeks more collaborations in key digital economic areas of 5G Construction, Mobile Payments Systems and E-Commerce Platform. 

Mr Maoming also noted that digital economy potential lies in the number of mobile internet users in Nigeria which has exceeded 150 million as of June 2022, with an internet penetration rate of nearly 70 percent.

On the other hand, the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) Prof Eghosa Osaghae stated that Nigeria will be open to the new possibilities which the digital economy has to offer. 

Furthermore, the Executive Director of Afri-China Media, Ikenna Emewu described the conference as an important event that will further drive Nigeria towards the digital economy. 

The Executive Director said that Nigeria and Africa cannot afford to lag in adopting digital possibilities to improve their economies.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Professor Isa Pantami says the Ministry has completed over 2000 projects within three years to enhance the digital economy across the country. The minister disclosed this during an inspection tour of the National Shared Service Centre in Abuja.

Pantami noted that Nigeria is making progress in the digital economy while the numerous projects which are spread across the country will help to improve the productivity of many Nigerians. 

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MSMEs Critical to Nigeria’s Economic Development- President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has said Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are critical to Nigeria’s economic growth as they contribute about 48 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.




President Muhammadu Buhari has said Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are critical to Nigeria’s economic growth as they contribute about 48 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

President Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Richard Adebayo, at the 17th International Trade Fair organised by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), stated that trade is key to ending poverty and also plays a significant role in the economic growth of any nation.

In his words, “It helps to build wealth and improve foreign reserves. Trade is key to ending poverty across countries, raising standards of living and improving productivity. No economy can thrive without robust trade

“The MSME segment is critical to the stimulation of economic development. Nigeria is estimated to be home to over 40 million MSMEs who, together, contribute about 48 per cent of our GDP. Many of us just see MSMEs as the mamas that fries Akara or the friendly Malam that owns the kiosk on our street.

“That is not the case; some of the fastest growing Fintech start-ups in Africa are in fact MSMEs. This trade fair provides an opportunity to change the narrative of what MSMEs are and demonstrates how innovative they can be.”

“I see enterprises that employ large cross-sections of our youth population. I see enterprises with the capacity to export. I do not see small businesses here, I see future mighty business.”

“The Federal Government is keen to help MSMEs achieve their full potential and has developed strategic policy interventions, enshrined laws and established institutions to create a supportive business environment for entrepreneurs and MSMEs.

“In line with this, the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMITI) has developed a programme that will enhance access to credit for over 10 million MSMEs at single digit rate.

“Aside from the provision of finance, this project will address key ecosystem issues such as the development of MSME clusters to lower operating costs as well as capacity-building initiatives.

“The Ministry has also commenced the process of adopting a centralised automated platform for the registration of Trademarks, Patents and Designs. The overall objective is to fully digitise existing records and automate the registration process to enable ownership and commercialisation of innovation,” he stated.

It would be recalled that Investors King on October 2, 2022 reported that the federal government has directed the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) to step up its efforts to increase its funding for MSMEs.

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High Interest Rate Will Hurt New Job Creation, Exacerbate Unemployment – Manufacturers Tells FG

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said the recently increased interest rate would drag on new job creation and subsequently lead to job loss amid Nigeria’s already worrisome unemployment rate.




The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said the recently increased interest rate would drag on new job creation and subsequently lead to job loss amid Nigeria’s already worrisome unemployment rate.

In a statement signed by the Director-General of MAN Segun Ajayi-Kadir, manufacturers disclosed that the increase in the Monetary Policy Rate and the Cash Reserve Ratio portended worrisome negative consequences for the manufacturing sector.

MAN noted that the increase in MPR from 14 percent to 15.5 percent would rub off negatively on other rates and dash the hope for a single-digit lending rate for the productive sector of the economy.

It further said that the recent development would lead to an increase in the cost of borrowing by manufacturers, further beyond the double-digit rate, which would disincentivize new investments in the sector.

The statement read in part, “The observed continuous contractionary monetary policy posture without complementary fiscal support may not effectively reduce the prevailing inflationary pressure on the economy.

“This is not unconnected with the fact that the current increase in consumer price index as reported by NBS is not largely driven by the monetary phenomenon, as self-inflicted weak foreign exchange rate management can be linked to the pressure.”

MAN disclosed that the rate hike would cause increased factor costs which will inflate the price of  products, stating that it was hopeful that the CBN would creatively go beyond the conventional monetary management system because global economic dynamics were changing and conventional measures might no longer be effective.

The statement further read, “It is important that the monetary authority strategically set in motion mechanism for holistic balancing of the real interest rate, which is critical to investment and not just following leading economies to adjust Interest rate without considering domestic peculiarities.”

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