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Should Africa Go Solar?

With the price of oil at a record high, Africa needs alternative sources of energy. .

As sunlight is readily available on the continent, solar energy should be a viable solution. So far just two African countries, Morocco and Algeria, have begun to explore the potential of solar power by building massive plants in the desert. Domestic solar panels can provide cheap and reliable electricity.

Should African governments subsidise solar panels? How can more African countries harness energy from the sun? Would you consider solar panels for your house?

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18 answers

People should be readily sanctioned for providing misleading information lest this forum becomes filled with junk posts.

Let any house that is on solar tell how the cost of installing the solar system.

99cents per watt? Nonsense, it exists on paper and not even the lab condition where parameters are right will give you that. The average cost per watt still hovers between $3 and $5.5.

The best deals you can get for solar panels today for a 200W panel is about $1,000.00.

People who google and assume they understand anything should stop this nonsense.

Kobojunkie has been posting a whole lot of nonsense on different sections of this forum and in the process misleading a lot of people, this is unacceptable and should be stopped.

Solar cannot be a replacement yet, not now, not even in the next 10 years going by the level of progress that is being made in the solar industry.

Fedex is on solar? Bid deal, now can someone tell us how much Fedex spent to rely on Solar?

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Companies around the world are already doing it. Fedex Oakland has been doing it for over 2 years now and they have nothing but good things to say. Please get off your chair and for once think. We already have people and companies burderned with cost of oil and generators plus maintainance fees. Moving these and more to solar will reduce the burden. Instead of rushing to post, why not get a panel and try it out. We already have kids who have been using solar powered laptops that are doing well in that same country. The cost is so far, great. Instead of rushing to brush the idea aside, I suggest you go out there and actually learn why and how it is applied and then see for yourself that you do not have to wait for the masses to endorse it for it to be good for you in that country. We are too quick to criticize in here without much to go on. I happen to have lived in a solar powered house right there in Nigeria and to this day, no problems. Even the owner wishes he could convince his neighbours that it is a cheaper alternative and less pollution but for some reason people find it hard to try that which may be less stress to them. Go out and try it before you right it off just cause the masses are not using it now, as far as you know.

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My dear Kobo - how much industrial equipment can you run with solar?

you talk like solar power equipment is readily and cheaply available in Nigeria. Are solar panels mass produced in China and exported? Can your road side electrician hook up your solar equipment?

I am not saying that solar cannot work, but it is not as 'start and generate power' dependable as diesel engines and the like, regardless of what you may think. I have done the research as you have asked, and solar still comes up short.

The low cost of solar panels in many places you may see are as a result of huge subsidies - the actual prices are still prohibitive.

Generators and co may be costly as you say, but they provide reliable, dependable power for the most part, not subject to the vagaries of weather/cloud cover and the like. There is existing expertise to run the systems currently in place, but not for solar.

How will it not cost/harm Nigerians? All the investments in generators and co should be thrown away and chase after solar? Are our buildings designed to properly capture solar energy? There is a lot more than simply saying substitute one cost for another.

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Look,  people already pay for generators, inverters and diesel or gas to power them on a daily basis. YOU SERIOUSLY think moving from those to Solar is costlier? I mean think about those questions of yours and do some research to find out what is really involved. Cause I am almost guessing the next thing you might follow all that with is that it is costly to move over to solar from what we already do use to power our houses and businesses right now in that same country. THINK! THINK!! THINK!!! We already spend trillions of naira each year on these things, do you think that switching from generators and daily cost of oil and pollution will harm Nigeria or the people who already spend thousands of Nairas every day just to power their daily lives, in anyway??

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99cents a sheet? Sounds good. . .but is the sheet the only requirement for solar energy? What is the combined cost per Kwh compared with other power sources?

The South Africa you mentioned, just what percentage of its power generation comes from solar?

Solar applications are suitable for niche use for the most part (on remote farms and the like), widespread deployment is still going to be prohibitively expensive - more than the 'conventional' forms of electricity generation.

As has been rightly said, solar can only be a minor contributor, it cannot as yet be a primary source of power for widespread development.

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Africa should go solar. There has been discussions in the U.S.A about using solar power for the whole country. Though the idea is not popular but it is estimated that the Mohave desert, which is around 22,000 square miles can power the U.S. .

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But it has already been done and Africa has been deemed a very good place for this technology. So much so that South Africa already is one of the leading countries in Solar technology and Egypt has plans to build a huge farm to supply to non african countries. Are you sure you did your research right in this case?? Cause if you did not know it, the farmers who came in from Zimbabwe to Nigeria have been mostly using Solar and wind energy on their farms for years. Why do you actually feel it is not for Nigeria?? where did you come up with this idea that it won't ??What facts are these based on ?? cause I can give you example upon example of where solar has worked even in rural africa.

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Well stated. Some don't even do any research, just reading an article on two based on google search gives them the wrong idea that now understand everything about solar technology.

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No country in the world has solar as its primary source of grid power supply.

It will not happen now or in the nearest future, when there are cheaper sources of power supply such as

gas, coal, hydro etc.

Solar could be used as an additional source, not the primary or secondary source.

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I have been reading about Solar Energy since the mid seventies and have not known of a place where this has worked effectively as an alternative source of energy.

So to talk of Africa for Solar Energy is clearly a joke and the media know this.

I am of the opinion that countries in the tropics should be considered and not just Africa

It would seem to me that when some smart entrepreneurs sponsor some researches, they like to use Africa as a test ground with the sole purpose making money.

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I think this will be a good idea. remember OBJ spent $16 billion investment in 8 years for power instead power supply decreased

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^^^

cut out the titangraph.

yes solar energy would be a good idea. shouldn't be the only energy source though

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Who is being pessimistic?  I am only trying to tell you that before you solve big problems in Nigeria, solve the small ones first. As long as you do not provide employment lucrative enough to make generator sellers happy, that your solar project will never take off from paper. Why do you think PCHN is still in "rigor mortis" after OBJ said he spent 16 billion Naira on the dead thing?

But not with my head buried in the sand like an ostrich. Please face reality. If you want to face problems, you have to face them from the very bottom not the top in this case.  For Corruption, you definitely have to start with the "rotten fish" head according to Atiku. You think I do not want Nigeria to progress? Then you have it all wrong. The very reason we are where we are today and going backwards.

What most of you see as "the Light at the End of the Tunnel" or that "Sweet Wind" is that of an uncoming train/Tonadoe waiting to squash Nigeria to pieces if you all do not wisen up! 

Nigeria is like any of my kids, if you mess up, I cuss you to death, even with all the love, till he or she sees reason. No spanking, but no sleep in my house either. I gaat the energy and I would rather die in the process with hypertension. They know better anyway.

It is called tough love! The best kind of love not the cancerous indulgent one most of you have enough to condone evil even where it affects you physically and spiritually. Over my dead body I say. I will not see any of my kids end up in a gutter.  I will disown him or her first!

Walahi!

Who born monkey!

Treat Nigeria like your child if you love it! Unless you want it to end up in the gutter like some on this nairaland!

But then again, I would not expect most to understand those things having had absentee parents all their lives!

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I think its a good idea

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are u always this pessimistic?

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The Gen retailers can go into selling solar panels and spares but the Yaradull's govt is too concerned with trying to make sure all its members enter the Forbes 100 next year to be bothered with harnessing solar energy.

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Let them clean the gutters first. What will happen to all the generator sellers in Nigeria? You think they want this kind of progress?

Dream on pal.

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