The ready and steady availability of electricity is critical for our functioning and comfort. Sadly across Nigeria, the provision of electricity has been very poor and we do not expect this to change in the near foreseeable future. For this reason, most of us have had to find alternative means to get electricity. At the moment, by far the the most common way is the use of petrol-driven generators. However, with the abundance of sunlight in our country and the recent drop in price if solar panels, it is certainly a no-brainer to switch away from generators to solar power.
There are many pros for solar energy and few for generators. We have tried to list some of them, below:
The initial outlay on a solar system is considerably higher than the cost of a generator. However, within the the short or medium term, the solar system often works out much cheaper than generators. One of the reasons for this is that generators require regular maintenance while solar systems require little or no maintenance. Generators also require regular consumption of petrol and engine oil while the energy from the sun is free and unlimited. Finally, the lifetime of generators is often between 5 to 10 years but a good solar system will last well over 20 years with only the occasional need for a change of batteries.
The dangers of using a petrol-based generator are just too many to mention. Every year several people get burnt to death transporting petrol in jerry cans. Many have also been involved in accidents caused by things like the use of mobile phones in fuel-filled rooms, or just being involved in a number of other accidents involving petrol. On the other hand, the solar system is one of the safest sources of electricity for your home and office.
The widespread use of generators have become one of the biggest silent killers in Nigeria! There are extremely high levels of sulphur and other toxins in the fuel that we use for our generators. This is partly due to the inferior refined fuel that is sold to us in spite of the fact that we sell high quality crude oil to our trading partners. There have been several reports in this matter, including a number of BBC articles on fuel pollution across Africa: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-37373414
Related to the above, is the noise pollution from generators. The solar system, on the other hand, generates zero noise pollution.
We often waste so much time and effort purchasing fuels, queuing up at petrol stations etc. This is time that could and should be spent on much more productive pursuits. Again, solar panels free the user from such waste.
In spite of the fact that the country is awash with crude oil, we do not always have a ready supply of petrol. As a matter of fact, we should expect fuel shortage certain number of weeks, every year.