By Prince Osuagwu
Schneider Electrics last week said that even as solar energy is considered one of the best options to the grid electricity generation, the problem with it was the space. The company’s new Country President, Mr Walid Sheta said that his company has vast experience in solar energy generation and therefore is in a good position to know the impacts and hindrances to achieving such impacts at maximum level.
This is also as he commended the federal government for enacting the local content policy, saying it has helped Schneider to be recognized as massive investors in the country’s economy. According to Sheta, “Schneider Electric’s solutions are not limited to street lighting.
It starts from massive solar farms, the biggest one we have done is in the US. It is 150 megawatts. This is huge for solar energy. The only drawback of solar energy is the space. You need a lot of space to generate 100 watts. You need 1 square meter approximately. 100 watts is nothing because a house needs at least 3 kilowatts. You need 330 square meters on the roof of your house to be able to give electricity to your house and for storage”.
Sheta also revealed that more than half of the prepaid meters in Nigeria are from Schneider Electric, through its subsidiary company. “We are interested in that market, we are meeting officials in the Federal Ministry of Power to make sure that the right meters are provided to the Nigerian market. We are definitely going to improve and add to the value we are creating on meters and this market is key for us and we plan to be strong on it. We are already assembling our panels in Nigeria, we are already having a platform of assembly so it is not about investing even more, it is about protecting our employees that are currently working in this facility that could also be replicated by many other local players.
“Today, the regulation is neutral to the companies who are manufacturing locally. It is only by embedding into the local content act . The fact that it is important to produce locally so that the products made in Nigeria will be as important as placing your PO through a Nigerian owned company. This is important to Schneider Electric because we are investing in Nigeria, employing Nigerians in Nigeria and they are producing in Nigeria.
Also stating the company’s prowess in the ICT sector, Mr Ayo Adegboye, who oversees the IT business for Schneider Electric West Africa, said that the vision of having an IT- based energy production partly accounted to why the company acquired APC in 2008 with legendary range of Uninterruptible Power Supply, UPS.
He noted that besides the acquisition, Schneider also has data centre, infrastructure business which provides solutions from the grid to the rack. “What this means is that if you are considering building a data centre, it is a complete infrastructure which means taking it from the grid, to the transformer to the electrical panel to the power distribution unit, to the rack in the data centre. All these solutions are made by Schneider Electric.