Nigeria’s Federal Government Just Banned Generators: here’s who benefits


Recently, the Federal Government announced a ban on the importation of mini-electricity generating sets, which are commonly known as ‘I better pass my neighbor.’ These mini generators are the cheapest and most popular in the country and are preferred for their affordability, low cost of maintenance and minimal fuel consumption.

The mini generators have been prohibited by trade, because its use in confined spaces has made it a major health threat, due to the harmful effect of carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbon emissions which pose a danger to the generator owners. While this might be unhappy news for the dealers of small generating sets, it may give a boost to solar power providers in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, where regular power supply is a major challenge, one of the alternative sources of power that is fast gaining ground is solar energy. With over 60 percent of Nigerians not connected to the power grid, off grid solar electricity generation has been pushed as a possible alternative to the massive infrastructural outlay necessary to electrify the country.

Data on the percentage of Nigerians that currently use solar power is scarce but this is likely to grow if the ban on generators truly takes effect. The knowledge that electricity is a major part of the country’s technological and socio-economic growth is enough to boost sales for solar energy providers. Also, Nigerians may find that solar energy may be a cost effective and safe solution as the technology improves to being able to power high energy consuming appliances like microwaves, freezers, irons and air conditioners.

However, even though solar power looks like the ideal alternative to a generating set, presently most available options are not cheap, especially for low income earners. According to Mr. Uvie, a solar energy contractor and inverter dealer, powering a one bedroom flat requires 1 Kilowatts peak system. The system which can power a fan,  four light bulbs, a television set and fridge per day, assuming there is zero on grid power supply, costs N700,000.

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