No thanks to the erratic power supply problem that has been faced all over Nigeria for many decades, the demand for alternative sources of power continues to boom. And with more and more Nigerians becoming aware of solar energy, many are turning away from generators and other power generation options in favor of solar power systems.
While it’s widely known that solar energy is clean and cheap in the long haul, the cost of installing solar power systems in Nigeria is far beyond what most Nigerians can afford. This explains why many are looking to eat their cakes and still have it by clamoring for solar power systems that come at affordable prices. This gap is exactly what the MTN solar power inverter was created to fill.
In this post, we’d be explaining all you need to know about the MTN-Lumos solar inverter system. The aim here is to help you make a well-informed decision to buy or look for an alternative. So, read on to learn more.
MTN Solar Inverter: Whose Idea Exactly?
The MTN-Lumos solar power inverter, also called “MTN Mobile Electricity” or the “MTN Yellow Box” is a product borne out of a partnership between Nigerian telecommunications giant, MTN, and Lumos, makers of affordable PayGo solar power systems, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
With its headquarters in Israel, Lumos is an international company with branches all over the world, and on a mission to deliver clean and affordable off-grid solar power solutions to “needy” areas worldwide — Nigeria inclusive!
The MTN-Lumos Solar System: The Components
The MTN-Lumos mobile electricity kit comprises the following components:
80W solar panel unit with cables: This is the part that you install on your roofing to capture solar energy from the sun. For this part to deliver at maximum capacity, it must face the right direction when being installed.
200Wh Lumos Solar Home System Indoor Unit: Also known as the “MTN Yellow Box” due to its yellow color, this is the most engine of the Lumos solar power setup. It houses the battery that stores up charge from the sun and provides DC power for running DC devices.
USB mobile phone charger: For charging your phones directly from the yellow box.
2 X LED energy-efficient bulbs: These are low-energy bulbs that provide bright light while consuming minimal energy. They consume DC power, making them highly energy-efficient. These bulbs are also highly durable and long-lasting.
60W DC to AC converter: This is the component that “inverts” DC power stored up in the Yellow box to AC power required for most home appliances and gadgets. With this converter, your setup can power a number of 220 volts rated AC appliances up to 60 watts.
The installation and mounting kit: This is the part required for installing the solar panel on your roofing.
How Does MTN Lumos Mobile Electricity Work?
The solar panel installed on your roofing or tall pole captures solar energy from the sun and sends the energy to the battery (embedded in the yellow box), which stores it up as charge to be delivered when needed. To get a fully charged battery, it takes about 6 hours of good sunlight (that is, a really sunny day). It would definitely take longer on days when there is reduced sunlight.
The Yellow box stores up DC power, which can directly power certain devices. However, for devices that require AC power, the included converter would be required to convert the battery’s DC power to AC power. If you’re connecting only DC devices to the yellow box, you can get up to 100 watts of power. But if you’re powering AC devices, you can get only 60 watts of power at most.
The higher the total load connected to your Lumos inverter, the faster the battery would discharge. And the less the load, the longer the battery would last. So, you’d get more from the battery if all you connect to it are just your phone charger and the 2 included Dc light bulbs than you’d get if you’re connecting your rechargeable fan or LED TV.
MTN Solar Inverter: Load Capacity
The MTN Yellow Box is rated at 200 watt-hours. What this means is that at full charge, the inverter can power a 10W light bulb for 20 hours, a 5W phone charger for 40 hours, a 30W rechargeable fan for about 7 hours, or a 50W LED TV for 4 hours. So, the more the load, the faster the battery juice drains.
The MTN solar inverter can also power DVD players, decoders, portable CD players and radios, small standing fans (those with plastic blades), and laptops.
Note that you might not be able to power multiple devices together in certain instances since you only get a 60W maximum. So, if your LED TV already guzzles 50W and your charger takes 5W (that’s a total of 55W), you won’t be able to add your rechargeable fan that takes up 30W — since that would make a total of 85W, which is far more than the 60W maximum load capacity.
With a maximum AC power output of 60 watts, you won’t be able to power appliances like refrigerators, water dispensers, electric pressing irons, electric blenders, LED TVs with a display size of 32 inches or larger, microwave ovens, desktop computers, and other devices that are rated at more than 60 watts.
So, the MTN yellow box is meant for lightweight power demands only. If you’re looking to power appliances that require more than 60 watts of AC power to run, you’d need to look for an alternative.
MTN Mobile Electricity: Who Is It For?
As with any other product, the MTN-Lumos solar power system isn’t for everyone. It’s for those who want to enjoy hours of non-stop power on their small devices and gadgets without having to spend a dime on fuel or disturb neighbors with noisy generators. It’s for those whose only worries about power is to keep their phones or laptops on for a whole day or most of it.
The MTN solar inverter won’t replace your generator, as it cannot power many devices that your generator would power with ease. And it goes without saying that MTN solar system cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Advantages of the MTN Lumos Solar System
- You can enjoy 24 hours of electric power on sunny days when your battery is fully charged.
- The package comes with two mobile phone charges (one of them is a USB type).
- You get to pay in little bits until you pay up (daily, monthly, quarterly, etc.)
- Any fault that the system develops would be fixed by Lumos/MTN at no cost from your pocket.
- The Yellow box is self-protective, it would trip off to protect the setup once you connect more than the maximum load capacity.
Disadvantages of MTN Lumos Solar System
- It cannot power “big” appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and large LED TVs.
- It can only be charged with the sun, and not with electric power. So, on rainy or cloudy days, you’ll get little or no charge.
- It’s strictly pay-as-you-go. If you don’t pay, you won’t be able to use the inverter system.
Alternative to MTN Lumos Mobile Electricity
The major downside of the MTN solar inverter system is the 60W maximum AC load capacity, which is too small compared to what most Nigerian consumers need. A system that allows for 500W would be more acceptable in Nigeria since such a system would easily power many home appliances at a go. Since there’s no competitor to offer such an alternative to the MTN Lumos system, the only option left for people who want more powerful setups is to do custom setups.
A custom solar setup would factor in your regular power needs and run many of your most-used electrical devices at a go. Note, however, that a solar setup with higher load capacity would require proportionately bigger batteries and additional solar panels. This explains why custom solar installations are usually expensive. So, if you’re looking for an alternative to Lumos solar, get ready to part with good money!
How Much is the MTN Solar Inverter System?
There’s a lot of detail to be understood as far as the price of the MTN Mobile Electricity setup is concerned. So, we decided to redirect you to another post that covers all the details. Click the link below:
How to Install MTN Lumos Inverter
Well, this isn’t something you should have to worry about, as the installation of the MTN Yellowbox is done by MTN/Lumos technicians. Once you have paid for the setup and satisfied other requirements, the technicians would come to your residence or the desired installation location to install the system.
As a subscriber to the service, you’re not expected to tamper with the setup at any point during or after installation. Even if the system picks a fault, you’re to contact the Lumos service support center, from where a technician would be deployed to fix the issue (without you having to pay).
If you have any questions on the MTN-Lumos inverter system, let us know by using the comment box below.