Entrepreneurship

Pirano Energy’s Impact on Reducing Generator Dependence and Slashing Energy Costs.

Discover the transformative journey of Nigerian startup Pirano Energy as it revolutionizes the energy landscape with reliable and affordable solar solutions. Founded in 2018 by Bola Ogidan, Pirano Energy empowers both residential and commercial customers, reducing their dependence on generators and traditional grids. Through a unique five-year rent-to-own scheme and cutting-edge remote technology, Pirano Energy provides high-quality solar panels and batteries, offering users control and monitoring capabilities from anywhere in the world. Join us in exploring how Pirano Energy’s visionary approach is not only slashing energy costs but also paving the way for sustainable, eco-friendly power solutions across Nigeria.

Nigerian startup Pirano Energy is delivering reliable and affordable solar solutions to residential and commercial customers across the country, reducing their reliance on generators and grid usage, and empowering businesses to cut energy costs by between 20 and 60 per cent.

Launched in 2018, Pirano Energy allows customers to purchase a solar system outright, or take advantage of its five-year rent-to-own scheme. Meanwhile, leveraging the company’s remote technology, users are able to monitor and control their energy consumption from anywhere in the world, accessing high-quality batteries and solar panels with lifespans of 10 and 25 years respectively.

“We achieve this by allowing customers to pay on simple monthly or quarterly payment contracts over 5-10 years. By adding solar to their energy mix, our customers have managed to reduce their overall energy expenditure by almost 40 per cent whilst also improving the reliability of their power and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win for everybody,” Bola Ogidan, founder and CEO of Pirano Energy, told Disrupt Africa.

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Ogidan founded Pirano in December 2018, with its first installation being in April 2019.

“The idea was born from a place of me wanting to build a business that was solving a critical, and very tangible problem that was very visible everywhere you went in Nigeria. Power,” said Ogidan.

“The hours of wasted productivity from blackouts. The huge costs associated with generating your own power with fossil fuel generators. There had to be a better way, and for me, solar was the answer due to the abundance of sunlight that we have across our continent. It just so happens that it also dramatically reduces greenhouse gases at the same time – making it an even better solution.”

Africa has a power problem, Ogidan said, and “power has a funding problem”.

“The fact is, although solar is helpful in solving the power problem, the initial capital cost of each solution is high and for many it is not affordable. This makes the solar industry full of “non-consumers” – someone who would benefit from a product or service but cannot access it,” he said.

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“To turn a non-consumer into a consumer you need to build a bridge that allows them to cross the river.”

That bridge, for Pirano, is its ability to provide long-term, periodic payment contracts.

“We found that most of our customers have the cash flow to afford to pay on a monthly basis, as evidenced by the fact that they were all purchasing petrol or diesel regularly, but they didn’t have the cash available to buy a solar solution outright that was large enough to help replace the use of their generators,” Ogidan said.

“So instead of selling a solar product, we looked to provide a Power Service. As long as the customer is making their monthly payments, we are responsible for ensuring their solar is working optimally to reduce the need for use of their generator and in reducing their fossil fuel consumption, we are able to dramatically reduce their operating costs.”

Pirano’s own costs, initially at least, were funded by Ogidan’s career savings and some money from his family, but after bootstrapping for a while it was a recipient of the 2019 All-On/USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge prize, which was a mixture of grant funding and debt.

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“We were subsequently funded by private debt providers who looked at our business, believed in what we were doing, but wanted us to be able to prove ourselves in our execution,” Ogidan said. “We only raised external equity for the first time at the end of 2022, beginning of 2023. This capital allowed us to materially accelerate our growth to now be a business with multiple billions in contracted revenues. And we still feel we are just beginning our growth phase.”

From its first installations in 2019, Pirano has multiplied its growth each year such that it now has several megawatts of installed capacity across hundreds of installations spanning multiple sectors.

“This, by the way, has mostly been through referrals from clients,” Ogidan said. “We have not activated the marketing tap yet but such is the hunger for solutions to a problem that is typically the second largest expense in any business after salaries, the demand has been phenomenal. When you are solving a problem with a focus on excellence, your customers will find you.”

Pirano currently has operations in 19 Nigerian states, and in the next two years is looking to expand to at least two other countries.

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