Three years ago, Ama Chike Thomas started his refrigeration business in Lagos, Nigeria. But that business quickly stalled, not because people couldn’t afford to keep goods chilled, but because of electricity.
The country’s power shortage was creating logistical nightmares for traders who were worried that storage sites were turning into alleys at night. Problems with theft were robbing traders of business, and even larger shifts in the power grid from bad to good had the effect of slowing down refrigeration machines. The market for refrigerated goods in Lagos, the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa, was virtually closed.
That all changed in October 2017 when Thomas found a team of solar energy entrepreneurs who were ready to help. They had established a business that took solar power into schools, hospitals and churches in rural areas of the country, and Thomas asked if they could use their batteries and special solar gear to aid in his cold storage business, Modern Market. They were thrilled to oblige.
Today, the firm, which specializes in refrigeration, transportation and logistics, is creating a business opportunity for Nigerians in search of easy ways to conserve electricity. By constantly charging solar panels and then placing them on refrigerated generators with double fuel tanks, they can keep the cold goods in storage areas fully charged.