Back in 2017 when Elon Musk offered on Twitter to fix South Australia’s energy problems with Tesla batteries, it created a buzz online as many Nigerians tweeted at him and jokingly dared him to fix the African nation’s widely known power issues. There was never an official reply from Musk nor his handlers and the memes went away but it appears the whole affair stimulated some young minds.
Fast forward to 2021 and a group of female solar energy technicians just pulled off a feat similar to Musk’s in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. While it was on a smaller scale, 2.1 MW compared to Musk’s public proposal of 100 MW, it is a great achievement in a country where the renewable energy discussion is yet to pick up steam and the tech scene dominated by men.
The project was meant to power federal government owned buildings in the capital city with solar energy stored in high grade Tesla Powerpack batteries. The country is known for its dependence on fossil fuel for powering backup generators.
It is the first of its kind on that scale and shows that zero-carbon emission status is not a pipedream. More attention simply needs to be paid to sustainable sources of energy, as companies like Tesla already has turnkey solutions.
The tech team behind the project was trained by the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency, a governmental parastatal that focuses on getting electricity to rural areas.
Both private and government organizations usually run fully on diesel-powered industrial-grade generating sets. Public universities, national banks, telecoms installations, etc usually have dedicated mini-plants producing electricity on the premises. Estimates put the amount spent on fuel by such organizations at $17 billion annually.
Noisy small gasoline generators are also familiar sights and sounds in many residential communities across the nation. Smaller machines popular known as ‘I better pass my neighbor’ use a mixture of petrol and lubricating oil to power medium-sized homes and small scale businesses like barber shops, cyber cafes and video game parlors.
All these independent power generation is not without its toll on the environment. Air and noise pollutions have become an accepted reality in many places, despite the government’s efforts to curb it.
As country recognized as a large market for generators powered by non-sustainable fuels, Nigeria may prove to be a lucrative market for Tesla, known for energy storage products such as the Powerwall.
Want to know more about products associated with Tesla? Check out this e-bike coming from the company.
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