Stories by Maduka Nweke,
[email protected] 08034207864, 08118879331
The moment inventions cease to come, life ceases to exist, so says an American scientist. In the drive to sustain elasticity of scientific inventions, another scientist, Tesla, has manufactured a solar roof that can supply light and at the same time, shade the building tops.
Solar roofing is a final product, which integrates solar panels with the roofing materials suitable for either a sloped or a flat roof. The solar panels used in solar roofing are usually thin-film photovoltaic (PV) laminates. The most popular Solar PV laminates commercially used today are the Unisolar thin-film PV panels originally designed to fit into and be integrated with standing seam metal roof panels. Unisolar panels are 15.5 inches wide and fit perfectly into a 16 standing seam panels, and are attached or laminated with special butyl adhesive that is on the back of each Uni-solar PV panel.
Although Nigeria is gradually learning, the backwardness of infrastructure does not support accelerated growth. The idea should be an aggressive motion that is auto-piloted with a view to giving instant result. For progressive countries, the moment an invention is made, many other scientists will start searching for various versions that will give the service in different ways. This, in developed countries, resulted in not only inventing the Uni-solar PV panel laminates but went further to bring about the IB solar roof, the Tesla roof, just to mention a few.
However, unlike with metal roofs, solar integrators were having flat roof leak repair issues with solar systems they installed on flat commercial roofs. After installing solar mounting racks and attaching them to the roof deck, the fasteners would start leaking after a while. Roofing manufacturers addressed this issue with different versions of flat roofing materials that integrated Uni-solar PV panels; one such system is IB sola roof. There are many types of both solar metal roofs and solar flat roofs, using solar PV panels from various manufacturers (though as I said, most do use Uni-solar PV laminates).
The worst is that while every other country is striving to bring about solar innovations in their living style, politicisation of development continues to pull down the inquisitive spirit of young scientists in our clime. Nigeria, with all its wealth, cannot sponsor programmes that can educate youths on the way to bring or even research into innovations seen from developed countries and training them to replicate such innovations in Nigeria. This will not help Nigeria’s technological growth as various sentiments and interests will continue to act as stumbling blocks to achieving that.
Tesla, last month, lifted the lid on its new “solar roof” product, just weeks before shareholders of the automaker and SolaCity scheduled to vote on the proposed merger between the two companies. The “solar roof” has so far been described, not as a solar panel, but as a roof itself. Tesla also designed a roof “that is better than a normal roof, looks better than a normal roof,” and is built using the most efficient cells at the lowest cost.
The roof would target people building new homes or those replacing their roofs, so it would not cannibalise other SolarCity panel products. Tesla’s solar roof unveil comes one day after the company released details on the Powerwall 2.0, a wall battery thought to be an important piece of the overall system it revealed recently.
The new battery system “is now a cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions such as building larger substations, bigger wires and more power plants.” The idea was described for the solar roof back in July, in “Master Plan, Part Deux,” a blog post, which identified some of Tesla’s overarching goals over the next several years. The solar-roof-with-battery product could enable individuals to act as their own power utilities, a solution that could be scaled around the world. The product would have “one ordering experience, one installation, one service contact and one phone app,” he wrote.
In a similar way, Nigeria, being eager to match the scientific developments of third world countries, could courageously venture into these new inventions with a view to making statements about the eagerness to ensure development in all life spheres. This will go a long way in solving the epileptic power supply and save Nigerians the music of singing NEPA (PHCN) as the almighty king that determines when to get light or not.
If the Nigerian government sees the solar roof issue the way it sees vehicles that can move without fuel, then sooner than later, a committee to study and bring about the enablement in the country would be set up. That would be a step to further bring about the scientific development of the light issue to the barest minimum. But the greatest challenge to that is that we will be watching the inventions just on the television with little or no efforts to bring them home. We, in our various closets will be praising the inventor while the compatriots who are as well gifted in such areas of invention are not given any opportunity to use their brains.
Solar roof has started making the rounds across the world but the Nigerian government has remained docile to the things that can lift the life of the common man. The emasculation of the poor masses has reached such a peak that even if an independent company wants to bring it to bear, various legislations and government agencies will stand to block it. But if government starts gradually to bring these innovations and set up committees that can study all these inventions and give reports, then the way to go about it for the good of the people will be known. Such will make life better for the people.