Firms to Connect 10,000 SMEs to Solar Power

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Ugo Aliogo

Global tech giant, Microsoft, through its 4Afrika initiative, has partnered with ICE Commercial Power, a Nigerian-based renewable energy provider to provide reliable solar power to 10,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across Nigeria for the next two years.

The Chief Executive Officer, ICE Commercial Power, Emmanuel Ekwueme, who disclosed this in a statement, said the partnership with Microsoft4Afrika would enable the company leverage a powerful cloud platform to deliver quality service to its customers.
He explained that ICE had piloted its business model with a focus on SMEs, adding that small businesses were suffering the most amid Nigeria’s electricity supply woos, as a greater percentage of their running cost go to offsetting power bills.

Ekwueme said the ICE was poised to connect 10,000 SMEs to reliable solar power in the next two years, noting, that the team at Microsoft 4Afrika and Microsoft Nigeria had been very supportive from the first day, and with its partnership, the earlier pilot programme has been a great success. He added that the next phase would enable the company to scale its technology to reach more small business customers across the country. The ICE CEO noted that a major technology component of the ICE operation involves utilising cloud-connected solar equipment, which helps facilitate remote monitoring and maintenance, adding that the company maintains an integrated web and mobile-based platform, which helps facilitate payments processing for customers.

On her part, ISV Lead West Africa for Microsoft4Afrika, EduAbasi Essien, said the partnership was vital for wealth creation and engaging youths in viable business enterprises in the country.

According to her, “SMEs play such a vital role in driving economic growth and job creation on the continent that enabling their success is a key part of what we do through the 4Afrika Initiative. We’re excited to partner with ICE Commercial Power on connecting SMEs to alternative energy sources, minimizing business downtime and maximizing productivity.”

“Off-grid energy solutions, such as this, are also a key investment area for us, as evidenced through the recent launch of the African Development Centre (ADC) in Lagos, which has off-grid energy innovation as a key priority.”