December 15, 2014

PSC Solar commences N5b solar panel manufacturing plant

PSC Solar commences N5b solar panel manufacturing plant

Solar powered community water project at Uturu Abia State

…to create over 1,000 jobs

By EBele Orakpo

As the price of crude oil plummets globally, Nigeria is in for a hard time because most of her revenues come from crude oil sale. Unfortunately, not only is the price decreasing but also sales as many of Nigeria’s customers have now either discovered crude oil in their country or are more dependent on renewable energy.

Nigeria, blessed with abundant sunlight and wind, has no excuse not to make the most of these resources to generate enough power for domestic use and export the excess. It is in this light that PSC Solar Industries, solar PV panel manufacturers and total solar electricity power integrator, decided to set up a 10-mega watt solar panel manufacturing plant in Nigeria, to not only make solar electricity more affordable, but also create jobs for Nigerians.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of PSC Solar Industries, Dr. Patrick Owelle and the Site Engineer, Mr. Ntogo Bakor Alex Alee speak on this laudable project. Excerpts:

What inspired the project:

Speaking at the official groundbreaking ceremony at the project site, a 100-acre property in Warewa, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State, the Site Engineer who is also the Senior Project Engineer, PSC Solar UK Ltd, Mr. Ntogo Bakor Alex Alee said the idea behind the project is the company’s desire to further reduce the cost of distributed solar electricity power by this local manufacturing initiative thereby making alternative electricity affordable in Nigeria and the West Africa subcontinent.

The project which he described as first of its kind in Africa, already has over 20 earth-moving equipment and over 100 construction site engineers on ground, underlining the local content commitment of the company in this endeavour.

Also, he stated that over “N3 billion worth of solar panel PV manufacturing equipment procured from Rimas BV in the Netherlands, are on ground in Nigeria including sun simulators, stringers, larmators, automatic framers etc.”

Training local engineers:

“Twenty local engineers are already cleared and registered for advanced Solar, Electronics & Electrical Engineering training at the prestigious German Academy for Renewable Energy & Environmental Technology in Berlin, Germany for January to February 2015. The company is committed to training an additional 20 engineers yearly for the next five years at the German Academy,” said Alee.

Expected products:

“Solar panels to be produced in Nigeria include 12V/80Watts, 12V/160Watts, 24V/200Watts, 24V/250Watts, and all super efficiency mono crystalline solar PV panels with efficiencies in excess of over 35 per cent, way above industry average efficiency of 15 per cent,” stated Engr. Alee, adding that “Africa now has a reliable manufacturer of superior quality Inverters, Solar PV Panels, Solar Charge Controllers- PWM, Hybrid & MPPT Versions from 12V – 440V.”

Expressing their joy at the event, two of the many PSC Solar Industries distributors from Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cameroun, Niger, Chad and Mali, Mr. Etienne T. Dazan from Benin Republic and Monsieur Ayuba Ibrahim from Niger Republic both expressed deep optimism and joy that they can henceforth purchase inverters, solar panels, charge controllers, solar streetlights etc in Lagos and have them delivered to their respective countries by road same day or next day without paying extra Customs duties or exorbitant shipping charges. Mr. Dazan who normally imports solar renewable electricity components from France was extremely pleased at this new development and reaffirmed his support for this initiative and attendant economic benefits for the West Africa sub-region.

The Site Engineer invited the public to visit the Complete Solar-powered Project Mini Display Home at the project site in Warewa, Ogun State along Lagos – Ibadan Expressway to get a free no-holds barred free guided tour of the 3KWp solar-powered model home already functioning at the site.

“This goes to confirm that the power blackouts in Nigeria are a smokescreen and can be completely eradicated if the government has the will to do so.

Nobody in Nigeria should ever be without electricity 24 hours, seven days a week,” he said.

Looking ahead:

Speaking on their plans for 2015-2016, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of PSC Solar UK Ltd., Dr. Patrick Owelle said that the planned expansion of PSC Solar UK Limited is now underway with offices and warehouses in Abuja, Benin and Kano, and additional locations in Port Harcourt, Calabar and Sokoto are planned for late 2015.

He indicated that plans are underway to develop a 100-unit, total solar power luxury estate at the 100-acre project site which is slated for takeoff in June 2016.

Dr. Owelle stressed the huge research and development capabilities of the firm and announced the introduction of the new All-In-One Solar LED Streetlights with integrated motion sensors. He declared that gone are the days when solar streetlights were not bright and powered by cumbersome and heavy deep cycle batteries, large solar panels and controllers and it took over four – five hours to install just one streetlight.

“The All-In-One Solar LED Streetlights are a compact light weight unit with integrated nano solar panel and credit card sized Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) batteries. The streetlight weighs less than 8kgs and can be installed within five minutes. They are extremely bright (7,500Lms) and cost far less than the traditional solar streetlights,” Owelle said.

The ceremony attracted various international and local dignitaries.