After the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, diesel prices have surged across the world. West Africa hasn't been spared. For many businesses and manufacturers in the region, operations costs have ballooned due to the energy crisis.
In response, many Nigerian and Ghanaian businesses are looking to diversify their energy mix to reduce reliance on diesel generators. For the first time, many are considering adding solar energy into their power setup.
At Daystar, we’re used to working with clients who are new to solar power.
We provide solar energy services to West African businesses and factories which dramatically reduce the cost of energy, cut clients’ carbon emissions, and take the hassle of power management off our clients’ plates. We provide power through our Power-as-a-Service (PaaS) or Solar-as-a-Service (SaaS) models.
If you’re new to solar energy, you’re probably asking yourself: which model works best for me?
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how your business can integrate solar energy into your power set-up and highlight the benefits of our SaaS and PaaS services, helping you decide which suits your energy needs.
1. An overview of the SaaS and PaaS models
At Daystar, we offer two types of solar energy services:
Solar-as-a-Service (SaaS): We design, install, run, and service a solar energy system that is tailored to the client's power needs. Whether it’s a rooftop or ground mount installation, we provide all the equipment - solar PV, cabling, inverters and transformers - to integrate to existing power infrastructure. We can also add battery storage depending on the client’s power set-up. Clients pay a tariff (kilowatt hour kwh) per month for consumed electricity - just like a utility.
Power-as-a-Service (PaaS): Like SaaS, we design and install a bespoke solar solution which is integrated into the client’s overall power set-up. But, for PaaS contracts, Daystar takes over and manages the client’s entire power setup from the solar installations to diesel generators. We install and run brand new diesel or gas generators. For gensets, we also provide the diesel and maintenance generators as well as pay for grid power bills. Under the PaaS model, the client pays a flat fee per month.
Under the C&I model, businesses do not incur upfront costs or pay OPEX as they do not own the solar energy system. They simply pay a monthly fee or tariff for the electricity consumed – similar to a utility.
2. What is right for you: SaaS or PaaS?
We have installed both SaaS and PaaS solutions for a diverse group of clients including banks, FMCG manufacturers, telecommunications providers, supermarkets, and schools.
Using this checklist, you can identify which model works best for your business:
Solar as a Service (SaaS):
• You are ready to integrate solar into your power set-up to reduce energy costs. But you prefer for your team to manage your diesel generators and grid power.
• You need to install a 200kw solar energy system at minimum.
• You have plenty of space (rooftop or land for ground-mounted PV) to install a solar plant of up to 1MW
Power as a Service (PaaS):
• You do not have a robust facility management team and prefer to work with a trusted third party to get power management off your plate.
• You prefer to deal with one vendor for diesel procurement and generator maintenance services. (This is a value-add for multi-location clients, like banks and service stations, who want to simplify vendor management.)
• Your generators are aging and inefficient. You’re ready to buy new generator setsand like the added benefit of outsourcing your power generation to a trusted 3rd party.
3. How our clients use their PaaS and SaaS systems
Over the last five years, we have completed 380 of PaaS and SaaS installations. Generally, industrial manufacturers prefer to work on the SaaS model. As they already have a maintenance team, they prefer to keep generators under their own management.
Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) - bottler of Coca-Cola and one of Nigeria’s oldest and biggest manufacturers - works with Daystar Power using a SaaS model. We have designed and installed solar systems at nine factories totaling over 10.5MW. NBC has one of the largest installed solar capacities among industrial manufacturers in Nigeria.
While most industrial manufacturers outsource just their solar energy (the SaaS model), some factories are starting to switch to PaaS.
We recently completed our first PaaS system for an industrial factory, UAC Swan in Jos, Nigeria, which produces bottled water. The factory had scant to zero grid power, receiving two hours per month. The diesel generators had reached the end of their life, which prompted the factory management to rethink its power management and outsource. We first installed a 600kWp peak solar system, integrating it with three 800 kvA diesel generators - together, they provide the bulk of the factory’s daytime power.
Businesses like banks and gas stations tend to prefer PaaS solutions. As their sites are smaller, they need less energy than factories. Multi-location clients can face complications in their power management as they do not typically centralize their purchasing or vendor management at the headquarters level. They deal with multiple vendors for diesel and maintenance services, which can be inefficient and bloated, resulting in higher costs.
One of our PaaS clients is Access Bank. We handle their power needs for multiple branches in Nigeria. For example, at the Oba Akran Avenue branch in Ikeja, Lagos, we installed a 25kWp solar system and provided a right-sized generator tailored to the branch’s power load.
We want to work with you
We know that volatile diesel prices put pressure on business operations. With our SaaS and PaaS solutions, let us help you reduce your energy costs so you can return to your core business.
Do you have more questions on integrating solar into your power generation? Still not sure about which system is right for you?
Get in touch with us.