Inferior level of energy access is a major hurdle in Nigeria’s economic development. Off-grid investment has proven to be affordable, easy, and efficiently scalable. There are other hurdles like regulatory constraints, macroeconomic problem, and the conventional challenges of a nascent market that is still visible. However, market players are still making significant progress. Around the world off-grid solar space is continuously encouraged by adjacent developments in consumer preferences and technology. One of the key players in the off-grid solar brand in Nigeria is Azuri Technologies. Key challenges in Nigerian market are Mobile money challenges (as a payment option); Lack of awareness; Lack of financial support from the banks; Non-clarity on duty charges, and poor ease of doing business as operators’ constraint.
Nigeria is yet to gain complete access to mobile money, and its benefits are furthermore restricted due to poor awareness, which lowers their utility and relevance for scaling off-grid solar operations. Companies are moving forward to induce innovation in their product like PayGo; it doesn’t need centralized planning or infrastructure. PayGo is a growing mobile penetration that is aided by fintech. Pay As You Go solution solves major problems combined like problems involving revenue collection and operator’s ability to improve structure payment. According to a report by the World Bank, more than 80 million people in Nigeria are living without electricity; the opportunity to invest in off-grid investment is great. To make payments feasible to all five solar home systems (SHS) companies have collaborated with different communities in Nigeria on energy payment solutions. The partnered firms are Azuri Technologies, Smarter Grid International, A Solar, Sosai Renewable Energy Company, and Oolu Solar.
All the partnered firms are integrated into the SWIFTA’s 20,000 cash collection agent network. Announcing the integration in Lagos, AdedotunEyinade, the programme manager of Nigeria Off-grid Market Acceleration Programme (NoMAP) stated that they followed the rigorous User Acceptance Test (UAT), started and financed by NoMAP. The initiative was designed to ease the collection of subscription from unbanked PAYGO consumers of the companies. Furthermore, the programme manager stated that customers living off the grid are unable to access PAYGO Solar because of the limited payment options. The newly partnered company will expand into new off-grid communities, and integration risk is expected to be addressed.