By Ebele Orakpo
It is often said and rightly too, that little drops of water make aÂ mighty ocean and it has been proved time and time again that economies of nations are made great through the efforts of small and medium scale enterprises. Any economy that neglects small and medium scale enterprises does so at its own peril.
It wasÂ thereforeÂ heart-warming to know that individual Nigerians are helping in their own little ways to help achieve the Federal Governmentâ€™s Vision 20-20-20, of making Nigeria one of the largest 20 economies in the world by year 2020.
In an interview with one of such individuals affecting the economy and society positively, Dr. Patrick Owelle, Vanguard learnt that the company not only seeks to provide 24-hour uninterrupted power supply to the people, but has in the process helped the government to reduce the army of the unemployed.
PSC Industries Limited, according to Dr. Patrick Owelle, the chief executive officer (CEO) ofthe company â€œis a solar manufacturer and total solar systems integrator in the UK. We have offices all over Africa. We build solar PV modules and we build integrated solar electricity systems, also solar street lighting, independent automatic autonomous street lighting as well as solar-powered water borehole systems all over Nigeria and Africa as a whole.â€
Speaking on what motivated him to establish the company, Dr Owelle stated: â€œMy motivation for starting a solar electricity company was quite simple. If you look around, you will recognise that electricity/power is the most important and most significant problem facing our country and I think it is quite important that we all join and help the government to alleviate the sufferings of the people and I think the best way to go is renewable energy. Solar electricity is quite readily available. It is quite inexpensive in the long run and in my opinion, it is the way to go, anywhere. So my motivation was quite simple – to provide electricity for those that couldnâ€™t afford the issues with erratic power supply in our country.â€
He further noted that the services rendered by PSC Industries have a ripple effect on the society. Explaining this, he said as the number of people who use solar electricity increases, it reduces the number that would rely on the national grid which will in turn reduce the amount of money government would have to spend on building new power plants and the easier it would be for them to provide electricity for the people on a 24-hour basis as the number ofÂ people on the national grid would have been drastically reduced.
On the companyâ€™s staff strength, the CEO said: â€œWe have about 750 employees. About 150 of these are in Nigeria. We are training and employing quite a lot more people. We are building the first solar manufacturing assembly line here in Lagos and eventually, we will put up another one in Cross River State. We anticipate that in another 12 to 24 months, we ought to be online with the manufacturing plant and we ought to be able to employ a lot more people.â€
Asked if he faces any problems while clearing goods at the port, Dr. OwelleÂ said it is nothing other than the normal hiccups one faces as an importer every now and then. â€œWe import virtually everything from our warehouses in the UK, US, Canada and some from Germany and other parts of Europe, so we face little difficulties here and there but nothing extraordinary. I believe that if one does his work properly, plan properly, you are going to face little hiccups but nothing that you cannot overcome over a very short period of time. So I would say it is not an extremely difficult situation.â€
The PSC Industries bossÂ sees solar electricity and the entire renewable energy movement as a revolution. HeÂ said,Â â€œI suspect that in two to five short years, the systems would be completely different from what they look like today.
They would be a lot smaller, a lot more manageable and far less expensive than they are today. I see PSC Industries Limited playing a significant role on the African continent in solar electricity and I believe that solar electricity will become the dominant source of power on our continent and the world in general.
So I think that the future is actually very bright. I am quite optimistic that it would be a huge opportunity for us to help the masses secure electricity.â€