Five years on, net metering remains impossible for Nigeria's solar user
How net metering can work in Nigeria. Source: Stears Business

One trick to landing a great elevator sales pitch is by beginning with a question. So, what if I told you that you could make some money off your solar panels? Because, let's face it, as great as they are for the environment and our homes, solar panels and components aren't cheap.
 

Some takeaways
 
  • Despite how great solar energy is for the environment, solar systems can be expensive, and it can take years to get returns on solar investments.

  • With net metering, solar system users can sell their excess energy to electricity providers and get credits for electricity usage when their solar production is low.

  • Implementation of net metering can be expensive for electricity providers. However, operational models in Utah and California, two US states, show how Nigeria can implement its net metering policy, which has been in place since 2015.


Stears Business has published quite a few renewable energy articles. Last week there was one from a company's perspective. The common thread in these articles is that renewable energy solutions in Nigeria are expensive. Even though the cost per unit of electricity produced is cheaper than other alternatives, the cost of the equipment serves as a barrier for many Nigerians. For instance, a 5kW solar system for a three-bedroom house could cost between ₦3.5 million to ₦4.5 million. Depending on the system's capacity, it also takes several years for it to pay for itself. But with the concept I'm about to explain, you can get returns within a shorter time frame.

Before you get too excited, remember to read the fine print. Technically, you wouldn't be making actual cash, but you would be saving money on your electricity bills. We refer to this as net metering, and countries around the world have already implemented it. Solar-powered buildings can sell their excess energy to electricity distribution companies and get discounted bills from the distribution companies in return.

The advantages are apparent—not only is there more electricity available for everyone, but there's also more clean electricity available. And the biggest incentive? Building residents get to save money. So, it's an innovative idea. But, implementation is everything, and without the right policy and regulatory frameworks that take account of specific nuances in a region, even the most innovative ideas could go wrong.

All the same, allow me to tell you more about why

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Noelle Okwedy

Noelle Okwedy

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