‘Technology and entrepreneurship is the solution to eradicating the unemployment gap in the country” Peter Ojike, the Director of Wavetra Energy LTD. – a wholly indigenous solar company in Nigeria said while speaking to our reporters, and truly there seems to be no breakthrough in sight as the NBS data suggests on every quarterly report, the 2018 Q3 report pegged unemployment in Nigeria at 23.1% underemployment at 20.21.% , youth unemployment and underemployment at an alarming 55.4 %. That means for every 100 Nigerian youth in the working-age range almost approximately 56 persons are either unemployed or underemployed.
Successive Government have employed strategies in form of policies, loans, and setting up empowerment schemes from YouWin to Npower to mitigate the hydra-headed monster, but just like COVID-19, unemployment keeps waxing stronger and the data is there for all to see. Does tech truly hold the solution to bridging the unemployment gap in Nigeria?
Amid ravaging health crises battering the world, economies are finding it hard to put up a fight and consequently forcing companies to layoff workers. More than ever the onus is now on the worker to find ways to adapt to these harsh realities by seeking means to acquire skills that would normally not be on the radar. A skill in Renewable Energy, especially in Solar technology, definitely stands out because of Nigeria’s need for an alternative and sustainable and decentralizable source of electricity that will supply power to both the remote communities and also urban centres.
At a point, no one thought it mattered in the grand scheme of things? but here is a tech company making the difference and proving us all wrong when ideas are born, they look impossible and herculean, from inception, Wavetra Energy LTD – leading renewable energy and solar energy company in Nigeria through her Academy, Wavetra Energy Academy, has trained almost a thousand Nigerians over the course of 6 years on the technology behind the renewable energy industry in particular solar energy systems, inverter sizing, in-depth practical on the installation and management of solar-generated electricity.
“The idea was to make the skill accessible to everyone, even the common Nigerian. We had to even build a separate platform called Stoplearn.com for free training on solar panel installation” says John Onuorah, the company’s IT Manager.
With solar and inverter training centres in Lagos, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Aba and Kano, the idea is to empower as many Nigerians as possible. “As a solar company, we usually send our engineer (Ajiboye Alasolewu) to other parts of Nigeria whenever we have an installation there. The reason is that we have few solar installers outside of Lagos. This is why we decided to set up solar training centres in other states in Nigeria to empower the people” says Ms. Emo Sado, the Wavetra Energy administrator in Asaba, Delta State.
For more than 5 years, Wavetra Energy Academy has trained and empowered over 2,000 solar entrepreneurs and installers across the nation. These solar entrepreneurs have gone ahead to set up their companies across Nigeria and they have certified others as installers.
Companies have scaled up and more are being incorporated every year, One of such companies in Gombe state of Nigeria, owned by one of its former students has employed over 10 staff in a period of one year, more like a ripple effect, stories like these are told so people can understand the what opportunities lay ahead for prospective trainees who are interested in understanding the industry and wanting to train and acquire such skills to scale up their venture or trainees with no background who are interested in venturing into the industry.
“We are at a crossroad especially with the new normal, a lot of people are losing their jobs and as part of our social responsibility, we are giving people the opportunity irrespective of educational background, who have shown desire to look beyond the now and switch to more fulfilling roles, as a company that’s what we are doing and we hope they will see this opportunity for what it truly is” said the spokesperson for Wavetra Energy academy, Joy Ozolua.
The International Energy Agency projects that energy generation by Photovoltaic module will reach a whooping 28TWH by 2040, from less than 1TWH in 2020 that translates to more than 2800% increase in energy generated from the sun, a massive industry is brewing in Nigeria and with its more than 200 million population in need of power for various needs the potential of the renewable energy industry is massive, to say the least.
In 2015, power supply in Nigeria averaged 3.1 GW, which was estimated to be only a third of the country’s minimum demand, with many consumers forced to rely on privately owned generators with its attendant poisonous fumes, the prospects of clean and renewable energy system remains high and being strategically positioned will be key to being a stakeholder with an early mover advantage.
The general outlook on the power sector for the country is at best dismal as the country losses almost $30 billion yearly on erratic power supply according to the International Energy Agency. This is a shockingly poor on-grid power supply statistic for a country with almost 200 million people, To put that in perspective, the small Caribbean twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago has 2,200 MW on their national grid for a population of 1.35 million people, equivalent to the combined populations of just three LGAs in Lagos State-Mushin, Surulere and Eti Osa.
“ I want to thank the management of Wavetra energy Academy (www.wavetra.com/) for making this training available to us, I have looked forward to a training session such as this, but none offered this in-depth and easy to grasp principles such as what we have here today, I am really empowered and confident that after this training, establishing my company will be next” an excited participant who wish to be identified as Lady S.B Ozoemena said.
By all accounts, the solar power industry is growing at a rapid rate. At the same time, fossil fuels still are being used to produce the majority of the energy we consume. This is polluting our planet, and unlike sunshine, fossil fuels are not renewable. Right now, the demand for solar energy is greater than the supply. Getting more people working in the solar industry can help make up some of that difference. Hence the brain behind Wavetra academy.
Having a desire to control your own professional destiny and be your own boss is a trait shared by top solar energy professionals. To be successful in the renewable energy sector requires a high degree of self-motivation, drive and smart decision making. Having a true interest in energy production and electricity can give you an advantage over other firms and installation companies. Solar PV installers can either be self-employed as general contractors or employed by solar panel installation companies. Our solar installation training courses are therefore designed to guide our students as they prepare for a job in solar energy — from the theory and science behind photovoltaic through the advanced skills needed to safely and effectively design, size and install a full solar PV array.