Month: October 2014
Results are awesome; Good news is sweet. Good results are even sweeter!!!
We just spent an awesome month in Nigeria and I must say to you that electricity made a huge difference. For my friends who live in the West, electricity is an item you take for granted. In most of Sub Saharan Africa it is a luxury.
Can you imagine this experience I had in the village. One of my cousins came back from college on break and came into our living room she saw the TV and lights on and asked why she did not hear the sound of a generator. In jest her brother told her it was a Lister and it was hidden in the bushes. Can you imagine having electricity 24 hours a day? Can you imagine freaking out at the thought of not having electricity for one minute?
I did. We blew a fuse while pumping water on our 2 kw system while I was at a job site. On the drive back to the house, the thought of not having electricity for the night was unbearable to me. I had become so accustomed to having electricity that I could not bear the thought of not having it. The house was the recharge station for the compound and main provider of drinking water. So electricity was a necessity not just for me but for all.
In our second week, we replaced the control systems that we installed in our prior visit. Each system now has an external charge controller. The performance has been beyond belief. These systems are more robust, can take a whole lot more abuse and do what they are advertised to do. Service calls from customers have dropped by more than 80%. The only issues we experienced were related to batteries. We have had a higher than acceptable rate of failure over 30%. As we had announced before we have adopted the flooded lead acid batteries manufactured by Trojan Batteries and expect much better results, better quality, superior discharge rates and better warranties. 6 V is good, 6 V industrial is better and 2 V OPz are the best. This is the lifeline of your system. Please don’t skimp on the batteries. Follow our recommendations.
We had an awesome visit. We are officially registered in Nigeria as AWPS Renewable Energy Ltd. Our RC is 1201626. Our bank in Nigeria is Zenith Bank and we will have a second account with GT Bank when we return in November. This makes it easier for our Nigerian customers to pay us.
We scored hits. We delivered a 1.5 kw system to Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority. We thank Chinwe Ohajuruka CEO of Comprehensive Design Services who designed and built the Prototype affordable passive house we worked on. She flew in from Ohio and met us on the job site and we are proud to say we delivered and handed over in two days. On the final day we pumped water and turned on the lights, handed over the keys and left for our next installation.
We met some very exciting and high powered people, I will mention one that we formed a partnership with. Mad Science Nigeria. They promote science in schools in Nigeria. Most people who have children in schools in Lagos or Abuja are familiar with them. We will donate a portable solar generator to them so that they can teach children more about solar power. I am excited that we can get children at the early age. The MD and chief Mad Scientist, Engineer Ify Chi-Igbokwe invited us to the dedication of the Redeemed Church mega building in Ikoyi on October 5, The building is a magnificent 14 story building and the event was attended by many of the top people in Lagos. The GOC E Adeboye was present. The man impressed me with his simplicity. He did not fake an accent, He sounded Nigerian and was proud of it. I had a VIP pass and I was introduced to people in attendance as Dr. Solar. Thank you mad scientist.
Overall a very successful visit, I did a lot of work myself, I also recognized the importance of being hands on. In Nigeria every one wants to take short cuts. In solar you can’t. I prefer to spend the extra time and resource the first time, than spend time and money going back a second a third and possibly a fourth time. We are changing the customer experience. On an installation we did in Umuahia, the customer called us after we left the job site, we turned around and went back. They had an electrical problem that was unrelated to the work we did. We fixed it because it was the right thing to do. After the installation the same customer called again for a problem relating to system performance. I sent someone back the next day. We tested the batteries provided by the customer only to find out that one was bad. The bad battery was discharging too quickly forcing a system shut down. We swapped it out for another and the system was back on in no time.
We plan on continuing to change the manner and ways in which business is done in Nigeria. Expect nothing but the best.
A big thank you to all our newest customers. We have 9 active systems running, and 6 waiting to be installed in November.