By Gabriel Olawale
As a means to combat climate change and attain environmental sustainability, Renewable Energy technology training are springing up all over Nigeria, empowering an army of young people with solar technology skills in a country where unemployment is a huge challenge.
Renewable Energy Technology Training Institute, RETTI is already setting the pace in the field of renewable energy education through their tailor made courses such as – Energy Efficiency and Management, Solar Entrepreneurship, Solar PV Design, Solar/Inverter Installation, Blockchain for the Renewable Energy Industry and many others. Their goal is to train and prepare a competent workforce pool for the rising renewable energy industry and equip entrepreneurs to create their own solar businesses to tackle the issue of lack of electricity via solar power in their communities.
After training, RETTI equips their trainees to become solar entrepreneurs in order to impact positively on Nigeria’s employment landscape. To do this effectively, RETTI has established the Growth Support Plan, an after support platform for their graduates, at no extra cost, to help them start and grow their businesses and to be employable in a solar company and solve social problems. Through the several businesses started by the alumni, they have provided solar power electricity of over 5, 000 KVA for 1053 homes and businesses helping to offset 60, 000 Tonne of the dangerous #C02.
Founder and CEO of RETTI, Glory Oguegbu, says she is passionate about solar and committed to educating thousands of young Nigerians including engineers and other interested individuals to be efficient technicians and providers of solar electricity, and also mentoring and guiding them to establish as renewable energy entrepreneurs. RETTI has an upcoming training on the 29th November with free accommodation provided for participants coming outside of Lagos state.
“There’s an increase in the demand for solar energy. It is therefore paramount to prepare entrepreneurs to meet this rising need and groom an efficient pool of competent workforce for the established solar companies. Our Solar PV Design / Inverter Installation training equips people with the skills to set up their own business in Nigeria. Through our Growth Support Plan an alumnus receives business advisory, access to job opportunities, access to hands-on solar installations, free webinars and seminars, all of which help alumni members to enhance the skills they enquired at the training,” she told Vanguard.
A RETTI graduate, Ese Oruade, who benefitted from the Growth Support Plan recently invented a Smart Covid-19 solar-powered automatic mobile hand washing machine. The Founder and CEO of Sere Integrated Electrics Limited (SIEL) in Lagos says he owes RETTI a debt of gratitude for the start of his business and lessons learned during the training.
He said, “I heard about RETTI trainings over the radio late 2019. The passion and expertise I sensed in the convener was so overwhelming that I had to call the phone number given after the show… and that was the beginning of my breakthrough in the solar PV system world. There [RETTI] everything anyone who aspires to be in the renewable energy business (especially Solar PV systems) was taught from scratch to pretty advanced level.
“We were taught the need for a green environment, SDGs, solar PV systems design and installation (both theories and practical aspects). Also, we were taught solar entrepreneurship, and business advisory was given. Interactive classes were also held; specifically, that was the ‘physical birthplace’ of my company Sere Integrated Electrics Limited (SIEL).”
Like other emerging service providers in the off-grid energy sector, Oruade believes Nigeria needs more renewable energy training institutions to train more people, especially the youth on solar technology, in order to solve its unemployment problem.
“Not just any kind of training institute but purpose and quality-driven ones, the likes of RETTI. They should be students-focused.” he said, adding, “During my training with RETTI, most of the students/trainees were ladies who had zero engineering background but at the end of the training, they were able to design and install solar projects, including the calculations involved. After-training follow-up and guidance will go a long way in creating solar entrepreneurs, thereby reducing unemployment level in the country.
The young entrepreneur went on to reveal that his limited knowledge of solar made him enroll at the Renewable Energy Technology Training Institute (RETTI) in Lagos, where he learned, among other things, that not all solar PV systems require the use of inverters; and that DC loads can be powered directly from the charge controller. He said it was after the RETTI training that he established SIEL – a company wholly owned by him and not a partnership like the first one he co-founded with his ex-school mate.
The knowledge he acquired at RETTI was critical in the development of the product he invented: the Smart Covid-19 solar-powered automatic mobile handwashing machine.
It boasts a number of features, including low-power consumption (less than 20W); energy-efficiency (LED lighting only comes on humans coming close to the machine and only operates when it is dark); over current, short-circuit, overload and battery protections (when the battery is fully charged, the machine can operate autonomously for more than two days); zero emissions; and hygiene (the user doesn’t make physical contact with any part of the machine).
Enumerating the benefits of his handwashing machine, Oruade said it will help curtail the spread of Covid-19 in his community and others in Nigeria, pointing out that it is suitable for use in schools, churches, mosques, banks, hospitals, malls, estates, banks, clubs and even outdoor events, etc.
While applauding the efforts of African inventing automated handwashing machines leveraging solar technology, the challenge now is to mass-produce them for sale all over communities in a continent with a lot of sunshine, to help limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.