Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading digital bank, has launched a new and innovative digital product, known as the Imperium Platform, in a bid to connect consumers and providers of renewable energy (solar solutions) as a viable solution to Nigeria’s electricity crisis.
The Imperium Platform was launched following the unveiling of the Nigerian electricity industry report entitled, “Powering Nigeria: How Solar Energy Can Become a Sustainable Electricity Alternative.”
The report was produced by Sterling Bank in partnership with Stears, a digital information company. Dele Faseemo, Group Head, Renewable Energy at Sterling Bank, said in a statement issued by the bank that the Imperium Platform seeks to provide clean and affordable energy solutions to interested customers while providing different financing options to customers purchasing the solution outright or paying for the installation and operation of the solution.
Faseemo explained that Sterling Bank, in partnership with Stears Data, the data collection, analytics, and data access division of Stears, embarked on the study to tackle the problem of providing solar energy in the country.
The report showed that despite the privatization of Nigeria’s electricity industry, the country still has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, as 43 percent of its population has no access to grid electricity, an indication that 85 million Nigerians are not connected to – and cannot receive electricity from – the Nigerian transmission grid.
He said the Imperium would provide a range of purchase options to consumers because solar energy solutions are not one-size-fits-all, so purchasing options should not be either.
According to him, Sterling Bank employs several purchase models to provide renewable energy solutions for its customers. This ensures that customers with different needs and purchase abilities can access solar energy solutions.
He listed the options to include outright purchase, lease to own, and power as a service. Using outright purchase as an example, he said that energy consumers could purchase products directly from vendors via the Imperium Platform, a dedicated e-commerce platform hosted by Sterling Bank.
In lease to own, Imperium provides financing at competitive interest rates for consumers with good credit scores or clean credit checks who are keen to own the assets. Under power as a service, Imperium offers fixed monthly energy-charge options to consumers, but the underlying assets are owned by Imperium as it (Imperium) purchases and owns the assets.
This saves clients huge capital outlay and maintenance worries, while the monthly energy charge is based on the capacity deployed.
In this regard, the bank has recently partnered with the Nike Art Gallery to install solar panels at the gallery via the bank’s Imperium outlet as part of its commitment to a renewable energy-powered Nigeria and the development of the nation’s tourism sector.
The development is a sequel to recent partnerships with the gallery to drive an appreciation and spotlight the investment opportunities available in Nigeria’s arts and tourism sectors.
The Nike Art Gallery, owned by Chief Nike Okundaye, is one of the largest of its kind in the West African sub-region, with a collection of about 8,000 diverse artworks from various Nigerian artists.