Segun – Renewal Energy (Lagos, Nigeria)
BlueOcean Energy and Technology Services is a subsidiary of BlueOcean Nigeria, an organisation that was incorporated in 2007 and targeted specifically at the base of the pyramid (BoP) markets in Nigeria. In view of the huge potential that the company identified for energy services, especially in rural areas, BlueOcean Energy started business in 2011 as a social enterprise to promote access to clean energy for rural poor and households in Nigeria.
The founder of BlueOcean, Segun, has worked extensively in providing services to low end clients and one of the pioneers of microfinance banking in the country. With over 18 years of banking experience and four years of promoting financial inclusion, he identified a major challenge facing the huge populace that live below $2 per day, that of energy poverty. In Nigeria, about 60% of the population does not have access to electricity and this figure can be as high as 90% in rural areas, mostly not connected to the grid. With a population of over 160 million people and unreliable grid electricity below 4,000 MW, it has become urgent to provide alternative solutions to meet the overwhelming energy challenge of most especially rural communities. In addition, there is the constant increase in the price of fossil fuel such as the kerosene and electricity tariff, which has made further access to energy for the poor less likely. This has been the motivation of BlueOcean Energy to foray into the distribution of solar portable lanterns and solar kits to replace the use of kerosene lanterns most especially. The founder has carried out various pilot tests of these technologies in various rural communities in Nigeria, including using his mother to test the impact of replacing kerosene lanterns with solar lanterns with the accompanying economic, social and environmental impacts.
To ensure the sustainability of the project, BlueOcean has developed a business model that will ensure partnership with women’s groups, cooperatives, associations and microfinance institutions to make available solar solutions to a large number of beneficiaries, rather than individual sales of products. This model has incorporated microcredit for clients that will ensure expenditures spent on kerosene are used as a yardstick to determine periodic repayment for kits, with some savings. Also, the model will create energy micro entrepreneurs who will market solar lamps, thereby creating jobs in the rural areas and reduce rural-urban migration. Segun has engaged various stakeholders such as Solar Sister, women groups, NGOs, microfinance institutions, governments, policy makers and so on towards achieving large scale distribution of solar lamps in Nigeria.
The loan will be utilised to purchase Barefoot Power products for distribution in rural areas to achieve the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental impacts in such communities.