In this interview, with Engr. Adetola Adebanjo, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Morton78; a wholly Nigerian company passionate about Improving the lives of Nigerians by providing Energy access discussed renewable energy solution and how businesses in Nigerian can leverage on it for higher profitability. Anthony Nwosu captured this in an exclusive interview.
As an energy player, what areas of the industry are you playing in?
We are an innovative clean tech company that develops and delivers exceptional solar power engineering services to people and businesses. Energy is more of a need than a want as everyone needs energy to run their daily lives. At Morton78, we are passionate about Improving the lives of Nigerians by providing Energy access to unserved and underserved people of the country has been playing an active role in providing power and creating jobs for people in Nigeria.
What is your take on renewable been expensive?
This is already changing as volatility of diesel pricing has made using generator a more expensive option for energy generation. We at Morton have a plan we call the “Save To Own” plan whereby you pay to own a system over a predetermined timeline. This payment would be lower than what you are currently spending on power. Clean energy is much cheaper in the long run as it is a one-time cost if done properly and with quality equipment. Unlike a generator, you must factor in the cost of diesel which now is N800 per liter and likely to rise. Do you know that every 10kVa of generating set uses 2 liters of diesel every hour? Depending on your generating set, do the math running it for 6hours a day and 20 days a month, you would see the advantage of going renewables cannot be overemphasized. Our save to own plan aims to reduce the operational cost of home and businesses where we spread the payment for people and businesses. What we have done is made clean energy more affordable thereby turning expenses into profits for organization as they spend less on energy. Contrary to beliefs that solar panels do not last, they have a longer shelf life than generators as they still produce up to 80% of their initial capacity after about 20years. Its’ return on investment is also better in comparison to buying and using generators for energy needs. In other to serve our customers we ensure to understand their consumption pattern to adequately design the system that works best for them. A common mistake is sizing inverter right but under sizing the solar panel and battery requirement.
We have a lot of challenges on authenticity and originality. What have you done to address this?
Well, we have a solid service delivery. From experience, what we have seen is that some people that get solar for usage do not get it from competent firms and experienced professionals. They get it from people that will come and count their appliances and tell them their need. Some of these people do not understand the concept of energy audit, at Morton, we have a concise way of doing energy audit where we install smart sensors in your homes or business and this will give us a clear insight of the pattern of energy you consume, we then look at this pattern and give you solution that matches your load profile. So apart from these smart sensors and auditing we ensure that you have a clear view of what you need as you see in real time how you consume energy. We must have a clear insight into your energy consumption before we embark on proffering solutions.
What are the advisory solutions that you have for clients?
We noticed that people have heavy equipment like water heaters, pumping and washing machines etc., these appliances are high energy guzzlers, what we do is migrate these appliances from other times of usage to daytime usage using smart switches. Solar energy is free during the day. Why not ensure these appliances work when we have sunlight. This simple yet effective solution reduces the sizing of battery and generator thereby giving them additional savings. For example, a smart switch can be used for your water heater to come on at 10am in the morning and go off by 3pm in the afternoon.
Tell us about your Energy Solution for Building Development?
At Morton, we offer different products for infrastructural development. Some of which are the Smart bench, this is a solar powered bench with advertisement pane, phone charging capabilities and wifi. Another product we offer is the Smart Solar Streetlight. We see street lighting as more than just lights. Our street lighting is a solution that provides lighting, WIFI distribution and camera monitoring all in one solution.
What kind of support services do you have?
We have a lot; we follow up on clients and advise them on usage and limitations. We trouble shoot if there is anything wrong from our dashboard. We can log into the system from our office and have a clear view of the problem from the back end and either solve remotely or have the solution on hand before visiting system location. We also have a system in place where we tell the client when to clean their panel depending on the location. We can monitor client’s consumption remotely and trace the faults. We have a robust support system for our clients. We work with data. Insight is key.
What sets you apart from others in the market?
Innovation and a proven financial model. We have speed of attending to customers need. We believe that every Nigerian wants energy, and we ensure they see energy as a supporting their livelihood than a burden. Our energy audit enables our client to view their consumption in real time, this helps them to understand their energy need. It is this level of transparency we have deployed to gain trust from our clients. Our advisory services have made them to appreciate us especially the big organizations like banks.
Can organization like banks and hotels use solar?
Our Alternative Power solution ranges from a 5kwp solution termed as APS5 to 100kwp coined as APS100. These APS are modular and can be scaled up to 1MW. Big organization can deploy solar from banks to churches even cold room facilities. There has been advancement in the battery technology, it has moved from lead acid battery to lithium-ion battery. We know that the major cost of renewable is the battery. There is what is called depth of discharge, you know that lead acid battery should discharge around 50% and if it does more, the battery will not last as much whereas lithium-ion battery can be depleted up to or more than 80%. It also has a faster recharge time with longevity of up to 10 years.
Apart from Lagos, have you deployed in other parts of the country?
We did deploy a 138-kwp projects in Maiduguri for the Northeast Children Trust to assist Internally displaced children. We have also deployed solutions in Abuja, delta and other parts of Nigeria. Presently, we are partnered with Rural Electrification Agency to provide Solar Home Systems to underserved and unserved regions of Nigeria. Morton78 has deployed these systems in the South West states of Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Kwara and Ekiti states. There are a lot of communities in Nigeria that haven’t seen light before in their lives, it was our solar solution that is bringing this much needed change in their lives.
The cost of energy is getting higher in Nigeria. What can SMEs do to reduce their energy cost?
One way to increase your profit is to reduce your expenses. A critical expense for SMEs is their cost of energy. To reduce your energy cost you must have an insight into your energy consumption. Once you gain this insight, you can integrate clean energy system from Morton to assist you in turning these expenses into profits.
Do you think that people are beginning to be opened to alternative energy sources?
Oh yes, they are, businesses are figuring out ways to increase revenue and to reduce expenses and one of the major expenses is power. Power is a major cost of doing business in Nigeria. With our various solutions, we are bringing the cost down for Nigerians. We also have solutions for small households and MSMEs i.e shop owners, barbers, artisans etc where they pay as low as N20,000 to get a solar system with a fan, phone charging capabilities, 4 bulbs and an external inverter to power up to a 32inch TV. It is called the LM 60. Payment would be spread for fifty-two weeks at the rate of N2,950 per week. As they are mostly daily earners it is easier for them to make weekly payments.
Are you looking at rural areas?
Morton78 is one of the companies partnered with Rural Electrification Agency and world bank to close the energy gap in Nigeria by providing Solar Home Systems (SHS) to undeserved and Unserved areas in Nigeria.At present we have deployed over 1,000 SHS and provided over 50 jobs for people in Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Kwara State of Nigeria.
What are looking at next year from MORTON 78?
Next year, we are looking at rural electrification and focus on those that do not have power. We have many agents in rural areas and have provided power to over a thousand homes. We plan to provide power to 10,000 homes while creating 200 jobs. Morton would also be focusing on proffering turnkey solutions to SMEs and larger organizations using our designed energy solutions and proven financial models.
“Contrary to beliefs that solar panels do not last, they have a longer shelf life than generators as they still produce up to 80% of their initial capacity after about 20years. Its’ return on investment is also better in comparison to buying and using generators for energy needs. In other to serve our customers we ensure to understand their consumption pattern to adequately design the system that works best for them. A common mistake is sizing inverter right but under sizing the solar panel and battery requirement.”