Energy Audit, Energy Consumption : Solar and Inverter Inverter Needs Assessment in Nigeria

Through an energy audit you will find many opportunities to bring energy efficiency to your organization. But it’s important to recognize that you won’t fully optimize your results unless you also automate and regulate the consumption. Monitoring is the key to maintaining the savings.

An Energy Audit should tell you three things:

  1. It will tell you about your current energy consumption. The energy audit should give you clear visibility on energy consumption and cost. This means it should provide you with a simple, comprehensive overview of all the types of energy that you are using, and their cost. It should also break out the energy consumption by users so that you know where and when the energy is being used.
  2. It will tell you about your potential to save energy. It should identify your energy conservation opportunities. It does this by telling you how energy is used and wasted, and describing the energy saving alternatives that could be adopted.
  3. And it will help you to prioritize your actions. The audit will also provide an energy management plan including recommendations with cost-benefit analysis as well as prioritization of best practices, quick wins and easily implemented solutions.

Throughout your facility there could be many opportunities for energy savings. Typical audits uncover deficiencies in Energy Consuming Systems, such as:

  • Pumping
  • Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Compressed Air
  • Steam
  • Refrigeration
  • HVAC
  • Vacuum
  • Process Machinery

In many industrial facilities, the largest energy wasters are failed steam traps and compressed air leaks.

In commercial buildings, the Heating, ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting can be the largest energy wasters.

Low consumption devices and efficient installation can lead to energy efficiency gains of 10 to 15% of total consumption. This is what we call passive energy efficiency. Low consumption devices and efficient installation could be things like well insulated buildings, high efficiency motors, and more efficient lamps. Secondly, optimized usage of installation and devices will net a 5 to 15% increase in energy efficiency. For example: up to 40% of the potential savings for a motor system is realized by the drive and automation, and up to 30% of the potential savings in a building lighting system can be realized via the lighting control. Thirdly, a permanent monitoring and maintenance program will garner efficiency of an additional 2 to 8%. This would require you to implement continuous measurement and to react in case of deviations. Automation and permanent monitoring are examples of active energy efficiency.

Energy Audits also tell us that savings can be quickly lost due to various factors. Unplanned, unmanaged shutdowns of equipment and processes can be costly in terms of energy.

Additionally, a lack of automation and regulation of areas such as motors and heating can lose up to 12% per year.

Lastly, without a monitoring and maintenance program to preserve continuity of behaviors, up to 8% per year is lost.

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Types of Energy Audits

The first type of audit we will examine is a walk-through. A walk-through is a light audit that consists of a relatively brief inspection of the facility to identify maintenance, operational or deficient equipment issues and to identify areas which need further evaluation. Some quick-wins can be identified and some estimated financial calculations can be done at this step.

Another, more detailed type of audit is the comprehensive audit. This would be a thorough audit, evaluating the energy consuming systems of the building or plant in detail. It may include performing specific monitoring, metering or testing to identify actual energy consumption and losses. It will also include an economic evaluation of the identified opportunities, including cost and benefit.



Reduce energy costs- continously!

Energy management includes planning and operation of energy production and energy consumption units. Objectives are resource conservation, climate protection and cost savings, while the users have permanent access to the energy they need. Ecowatt provides energy management solutions through:

  • Development and implementation of a certifiable energy management system based on the international ISO 50001 standard.
  • Internal auditing of the EnMS according to ISO 50001 and ISO 19011 (auditing of management systems) to confirm compliance of your EnMS before the certification audit.
  • Conduct of energy audits as a means of assessment.
  • Provision of energy monitoring system to help users keep track of the energy performance of buildings, machines, facilities and processes.
  • Implement energy efficiency measures that will drastically reduce energy costs.

For organizations, the ISO 50001 standard for energy management systems is the ultimate tool to reduce energy costs continuously. To achieve sustainable energy savings, a continuous improvement process in the form of an energy management system (EnMS) according to the international standard ISO 50001 is crucial.

Calculating Your Solar Power Requirements

There are three main things to consider in order to choose a Solar panel or create a Solar system.

1 : How much energy can your battery store?

2 : How much energy will your appliance(s) use over a period of time?

3 : How much energy can a Solar panel generate over a period of time?

Firstly you need to know how much energy your battery can store and then select a Solar panel that can replenish your ‘stock’ of energy in the battery in line with your pattern of use.


1 : How much energy can your battery store?

Battery capacity is measured in Amp Hours (e.g. 17AH). You need to convert this to Watt Hours by multiplying the AH figure by the battery voltage (e.g. 12V).  this is just the simple calculation below

  •  X (Battery size in AH) x Y (Battery Voltage) = Z (Power available in watt hours
  • For a 20AH, 12V battery the Watt Hours figure is 20(X) x 12(Y) = 240 WH (Z)
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This means the battery could supply 240W for 1 hour, 120W for 2 hours or even 2w for 120 hours i.e. the more energy you take, the faster the battery discharges.

However you are never really able to take all the power from a battery as once the voltage drops below your equipment’s requirements it will no longer be able to power it. There is a simple rule of thumb for this but please check your battery’s specifications to make sure.

  •  Lead acid battery’s will give you around 50% of their rated power. (i.e. a 10Ah battery has 5Ah of usable power)
  • Li-ion battery’s will give you around 80% of their rated power. (i.e. a 10Ah battery has 8Ah of usable power)

A common question that people ask regarding the battery’s is,

Q. Are car battery’s just as good for solar as leisure battery’s?

A. The answer to this is no they are not. The reason is because a leisure battery has been designed to be discharged and recharge, a Car battery is designed to provide a lot of power quickly but it’s not able to cope with a low internal charge and recover fully


2 : How much energy will your appliance(s) use over a period of time?

The power consumption of appliances is generally given in Watts (e.g. A small portable TV is around 20W this information can be found on the data sticker that most electrical items have). To calculate the energy you will use over time, just multiply the power consumption by the hours of intended use.

The 20W TV in this example, on for 2 hours, will take 20 x 2 = 40WH from the battery.

Repeat this for all the appliances you wish to use, then add the results to establish total consumption like below.

TV 20w on for 2 hours per day                              = 40w per day

Radio 10w on for 5 hours per day                          = 50w per day

Water pump (20w) on for 20mins per day               = 6.66w per day

Main Light 30w on for 3h per day                           = 90w per day

Spot lights 10w on for 1h per day                           = 10w per day

Total      = 196w per day

An easy way to lower your power usage is to swap out halogen lights for LED lights. LED lights generally use 80% less energy for a similar light level.

3 : How much energy can a Solar panel generate over a period of time?

The final part to sizing your solar system is the solar panels. The power generation rating of a Solar panel is also given in Watts (e.g. our part number STP010, is a 10W solar panel). In Theory, to calculate the energy it can supply to the battery, you multiply Watts (of the solar panel) by the hours exposed to sunshine.

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In practice it’s not a great way to calculate the output from a solar panel so we work to a few simple rules.

·         We would generally advise that an average UK winters day will only give you 1 hours sunshine

·         An average UK summers days will give you 6 hours of sunshine.

So in winter a 10w panel will provide 10w worth of energy back into your battery. (10w x 1 = 10w)

In Summer a 10w panel will provide 60w worth of energy back into your battery. (10w x 6 = 60w)

Using the above calculation takes into consideration any losses in the system from the regulator, cables and battery you may be using.


4 : Putting it all together to size your system.

Knowing your power requirements and the time of year you want to use the system is vital to this step.  We will use the example above with a power requirement of  196w per day.

If this is the requirements for late spring to early Autumn use we could use this equation

Watts required / time of year sunshine hours = panel size         →           196 / 6 = 32.6W panel

As we don’t make a 32.6w solar panel we would recommend looking at a 30w or 40w solar panel for this application.

However if this was an all year requirement i.e. also needed in the UK’s winter the numbers would change

Watts required / time of year sunshine hours = panel size         →          196 / 1 = 196W panel

As we don’t make a 196w solar panel we would recommend looking at two 100w solar panels for this application.

The final Piece 

The final Piece to complete your solar system is the Charge Controller or Voltage Regulator. Its basically the same thing just a different name. This essential piece of your solar system controls the Charge put into your battery, stops overcharging and prevents the solar panel pulling power from the battery at night.



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Author: SouTech Team
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