MTN Mobile Electricity (a.k.a MTN Yellow Box) is a partnership between MTN, Nigeria’s largest Mobile Network, Lumos, maker of PayGo off-grid Solar Home Systems, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to deliver safe, reliable and affordable power to millions of households and businesses in Nigeria.
In January, 2017 the Federal Government of Nigeria partnered with Azuri Technologies to launch Azuri Quad, a PayGo off-grid solar home system aimed at providing power to off-grid communities across the country.
MTN followed up with an even more practical option with the ability to power AC load like your electric fan, TV, and laptops. MTN Mobile Electricity (a.k.a Lumos Mobile Electricity) is targeted at everyone whether you are in an off-grid community or not.
In case you are wondering the differences/similarities between the Azuri and Lumos system, checkout our Azuri Quad vs Lumos Smart Solar System article. Now lets continue with MTN Mobile Electricity.
The MTN Mobile Electricity kit consists of a few components, namely:
- 80W Solar Panel unit with Cables
- 300Wh Lumos Solar Home System In-door Unit (MTN Yellow Box)
- USB Mobile Phone Charger
- 2 x LED Energy Efficient Bulbs
- 60W DC to AC converter
- Easy Self-Installation Mounting Kit
Note that although the output of the MTN Yellow Box is DC (direct current), with the help of the 60W DC to AC converter included in the kit, the DC voltage is converted to AC voltage making the setup effectively an inverter. This is why the Yellow Box is sometimes referred to as the MTN Solar Inverter in some quarters.
You will have to pay a commitment fee of 20,000 Naira to sign-up for the MTN Mobile Electricity program.
What is the MTN Yellow Box Capacity
The MTN Yellow Box capacity is 300WH. This means that when fully charged, it can theoretically power a 20W light bulb for 15 hours. The more you load, the less time you get.
How MTN Mobile Electricity works
The 80W solar panel is mounted on the roof or on a pole outside to collect solar energy from the Sun and charge the built-in battery in the Lumos in-door unit (Yellow Box). It takes about 6-hours of sunlight to fully charge the built-in battery. Once fully charged, the system can supply several hours of electricity with length of supply dependent on the amount of load.
However, MTN Mobile Electricity is Pay as you Go. The Lumos Solar Home system is locked until you pay to access the electricity stored in the built-in battery. The indoor unit is connected to the MTN network and gives you access to the stored energy only if you have paid.
Cost of MTN Mobile Electricity
To starts using the MTN Yellow Box, you have to pay a 20,000 Naira download. Once you make the initial payment, you are given the full hardware. You will then be required to pay for an MTN Mobile Electricity Subscription plan. You can choose the monthly plan which is 4,500 Naira per month or any of the other plans.
There are a couple of plans to choose from. We list them below with their prices.
MTN Mobile Electricity Plans & Subscription codes
|1 Day||230 Naira (230 NGN per Day)||SMS 1 to 317|
|5 Days||1000 Naira (200 NGN per Day)||SMS 5 to 317|
|10 Days||1800 Naira (180 NGN per Day)||SMS 10 to 317|
|20 Days||3300 Naira (165 NGN per Day)||SMS 20 to 317|
|30 Days||4500 Naira (150 NGN per Day)||Text 30 to 317|
|90 Days||12,600 NGN (140 NGN per Day)||SMS 90 to 317|
|180 Days||₦23,400 (130 NGN per Day)||Text 180 to 317|
|365 Days||₦46,720 (128 NGN per Day)||SMS 365 to 317|
|1800 Days||219,000 Naira (122 NGN per Day)||SMS 1800 to 317|
How to Recharge MTN Mobile Electricity
During setup, you provide an MTN mobile number that should be associated to your MTN Yellow Box. This is the mobile line you will be using in recharging your MTN Mobile Electricity.
You load enough credit on the mobile line to pay for your chosen plan, then send the applicable text message from your MTN line to activate the plan and buy energy credits.
For example, to recharge for the 30 day subscription plan, load at least 4,500 Naira to your MTN line and SMS 30 to 317. Note that once your existing plan is exuasted, the system will default (Auto-renewal) to the daily plan, which cost 230 Naira per day. You can exit by texting EXIT to 317.
Note that part of the terms and conditions requires you to use the system for at least 20 days in a month or you will be required to pay for any deficit payment on previous months before you can use the MTN Yellow Box for current month
Your MTN Mobile Electricity will be locked until you complete the deficit. If your MTN Mobile Electricity is locked for up to 60 days, you could lose ownership of the system.
After 1800 paid days, the system unlocks permanently allowing you to enjoy energy without having to pay. This is because the system is given to you on lease and after 1800 paid days you would have fully paid for the system.
The MTN Mobile Electricity comes with 5 years warranty, during which Lumos/MTN will take care of maintenance of the system free.
The MTN Mobile Electricity indoor unit (MTN Yellow Box) offers eight DC output ports with varying amount of current, suitable for charging mobile phones or tablets and powering other DC power appliances like LED lights and radios.
MTN Mobile Electricity kit also comes with a 60W DC to AC converter, which converts DC output to AC, enabling you power AC appliances like your electric fan, laptops, and TV. However, the converter can only supply 60W max, so the TV has to be small.
Thanks to the converter, MTN Mobile Electricity can also be called a low / micro power solar inverter.
Who is the MTN Mobile Electricity for
MTN Mobile Electricity is for household and businesses in off-grid communities and for households and businesses connected to the grid, but looking for safe, reliable and affordable backup for when grid electricity fails.
It is a more practical system than the Solar Home System offered by Azuri. Its 80W solar panel gives it more capacity than the 10W solar panel offered by the Azuri Quad.
This also makes it possible for the addition of a 60W DC to AC converter that enables you connect devices like a fan, small TV, or laptop in addition to normal DC devices like the LED bulb, radio, and mobile phone/tablet charging.
However, understandably the MTN Mobile Electricity is more expensive than the Azuri system. This means that the MTN Mobile Electricity is likely to be more popular with people in urban and semi-urban communities. They are likely to use it as a replacement or backup for their generators.
MTN Mobile Electricity is great for businesses that require energy just for lighting, fans, and/ or laptops. That said, the MTN Mobile Electricity is still not an alternative to buying an inverter. Like we said earlier, the DC to AC converter can manage a maximum of 60W. This means if your energy needs exceed this, the Lumos system will not be able to satisfy your needs.