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Ubah Benson

03.10.2018, Interview with Solatrify Nigeria Ltd, Business Member of Sun-Connect News Company Database

Company portrait: Solatrify Nigeria Ltd.

Solatrify is a value-added solar distribution company committed to providing quality solar equipment, business support & financial mechanism for the growing network of local solar dealers, installers & contractors in sub-Saharan African.

They are providing a value-added solar procurement platform that solves the bottlenecks, solar dealers & installers faces in their day-day business activities with the end users which includes - poor solar equipment/products in the market, warranty & after sales support issues, working with unreliable manufacturers, poor pricing system, a high cost of delivery, poor product technical know-how, stocking issues and lack of financial support.

Sun-Connect News had a chance to interview Ubah Benson, Chief Energizing officer/Founder of Solatrify Nigeria Ltd.. 

Questions

SC News: Do you remember the first customer your company has served? Who and where was it? What did he/she buy? 

Ubah: They are local solar installer in Nigeria looking at getting the top quality product at the best wholasale price.. The procurement solar panels, batteries and inverter for a 1000kwp solar system at a residential home. 

SC News: What is your experience: which product, beyond lighting, customers request the most? And which other appliances for Solar-Home-Systems you think should be provided in future? 

Ubah: Our customers are dealers & installers which go for solar components more often ( lead acid batteries, inverter with inbuilt charge controllers and solar panels (monocystalline). We believe the future will rely on how the PAYGo System and blockchain will be widely adopted in Nigeria which is at the early stage. 

SC News: What would you recommend young entrepreneursin Asia/Africa in the off-grid solar sector when they start to work: what is the most important skill or talent they need?

UbahOne essential skills is about educating their target market and ability to be patient enough even when their solution is not scaling as expected. 

SC News: When companies grow, the need for good and reliable staff is big. How do you find your staff?

UbahI always go for passionate staff with the best experience within the renewable energy in Nigeria  that will gives 110% for the goal, mission and vision of the company.

SC News: The market in developing countries is often influenced by local corruption, insecure governmental policies, bureaucratic hurdles for customs clearance. Which obstacle is/was for your business the most challenging one - and why?

UbahGetting quality driven solar manufacturers/supplier to partner with so we can resell quality solar equipments to local dealers & installers. The government has no set policies on check-mating standard for imported solar equipment that cause a lot of end-users to lose interest in solar energy.

SC News: Right now we see a huge focus on pay-as-you-go sale in the off-grid sector. How do you see the further development of this type of business?

UbahIn Nigeria, we always need more energy so we see PAYGo systems slowly been adopted in the country with  rural areas without any form of access to electricity especially in northern region having the most impact of the PAYGo systems in the country. 

SC News: The off-grid sector worldwide is depending on soft loans and donations. Do you think this soft money is helpful to build the industry?

UbahYes of course access soft loans & donation gives customers the confidence to go solar and solar companies the leverage to introduce their innovative ideas to the market.

SC News: In your view, what are the main challenges in making renewables an affordable easy-to-access energy resource?

Ubah

  • Lack of awareness for renewable energy solutions.
  • Access to finance 
  • High cost of solar components 
  • Government corruption/ policies  

SC News: Is the off-grid market Driven More by Policy or Technology?

UbahThe policy is key. 

SC News: What was a mistake in the past from which you learned a lot for the future development?

UbahNever put your trust or bank on any solar equipment you come across in the market. Always carry out a due diligence before using the product at a consumer home.

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Facts and figures

Name of the company:
Founded:
Headquarters based in:
Solatrify Nigeria Ltd.

August 2018
Lagos, Nigeria
Business activity:
Stocking, selling and financing solar equipments and distributed energy solution for the growing network of solar dealers and installers in sub-saharan Africa.
Countries/regions of activity:
Number of staff worldwide:
Webpage:
Email contact:
Our Vision
Our vision is to become the largest solar distribution company in Africa.
Our mission
To contribute immensely to the wide adoption, equipment trust, accessibility and affordability of solar energy in Sub-Saharan Africa
Our competitive advantage
Any major solar distributor can stock products and sell them but none are partners to the installers & solar retailers who control over 70% of the solar energy per year market revenue, none solves their challenges, none are providing business strategic solutions, advanced after sales support, assign account managers and financing  to help  them succeed that is where we come in to providing a value-added solar distribution platform for local dealers/installers to get solar components at wholesale price from us without needing to become registered dealers to other solar manufacturing companies , we support them with the business service solution & financing needed to accelerate growth on their day-day business activities.
Our social impact
Solatrify is an opportunity for the growing network of local solar dealers and especially new solar installer academy graduates within the solar ecosystem to have access trusted solar equipment at wholesale price from our (vetted) solar manufactures partners with also our business solution support & financing mechanism. This will help reduce the cost of going solar from the end users point and boost the wide adoption in the country because a lot of people we trust the solution more when we have the right equipment distributed and core professional running the installations on our roofs. 
Our unique value proposition is solving the real world challenges dealers & installers go through in lighting up Africa so as to experience an improved electrification rate by 2050 and contribute greatly to the word GHG emission reduction. Our business will provide job opportunities for trained installers and also encourage the influx of youths especially woman to become a future solar energy installer to end energy poverty in  Africa.

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