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MTN Mobile Electricity with Lumos Solar Home System

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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.

You may also be interested in MTN Mobile Money.

The Hardware

Lumos Solar Home System

The MTN Mobile Electricity kit consists of a few components, namely:

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  • 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.

Lumos has added two new options: the Lumos Eco which offers an 80W Solar Panel and a 200Wh battery and the more powerful Lumus Prime that offers two 80W solar panels (i.e. 160W in total) and a 330Wh battery.

You will have to pay an initial commitment fee of 20,000 Naira for the Lumos Eco and 25,000 Naira for the Lumos Prime to sign-up for the MTN Mobile Electricity program.

What is the MTN Yellow Box Capacity

The initial MTN Yellow Box had a capacity of 300Wh, but the Lumos Eco offers 200Wh and the Lumus Prime 330Wh. This means that a 20W light bulb can be theoretically powered for 15 hours, 10 hours, and 16 hours 30 minutes by the initial Lumos box, Lumos Eco, and Lumos Prime respectively. The more you load, the less time you get.

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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 start using the MTN Yellow Box, you have to pay a 20,000 Naira for the Lumos Eco and 25,000 Naira for the Lumos Prime.

You will then be required to pay for an MTN Mobile Electricity four year Subscription plan. You can choose the monthly plan which is 7,300 Naira per month for the Lumos Prime and 5,500 Naira per month for the Lumos Eco for four years. There also plans for bimonthly, quarterly, biyearly, and yearly payment.

There are a couple of plans to choose from. We list them below with their prices.

MTN Mobile Electricity Plans & Subscription codes

Plan Price Activation Code
1 Day ₦300 (300 NGN per Day) SMS 1 to 317
3 Day ₦800 (266.7 NGN per Day) SMS 3 to 317
5 Days ₦1300 (260 NGN per Day) SMS 5 to 317
7 Day ₦1,800 (257.1 NGN per Day) SMS 7 to 317
10 Days ₦2300 (230 NGN per Day) SMS 10 to 317
20 Days ₦4300 (215 NGN per Day) SMS 20 to 317
30 Days ₦5400 (180 NGN per Day) Text 30 to 317
60 Day ₦10,000 (166.7 NGN per Day) SMS 60 to 317
90 Days ₦14,000 (155.6 NGN per Day) SMS 90 to 317
180 Days ₦26,000 (144.4 NGN per Day) Text 180 to 317
365 Days ₦51,000 (139.7 NGN per Day) SMS 365 to 317
1800 Days ₦240,000 (133.3 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.

Unlocks after 1800 Days

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

Lumos Smart Solar System

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.

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Paschal Okafor
Paschal Okafor
Paschal Okafor is the founder of NaijaTechGuide. A Graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Paschal is passionate about Technology and since 2006 has written over 4000 articles covering Mobile Devices, Consumer Electronics, Digital Marketing, Mobile Apps, and Online Services. Over the past 16 years, he has managed to turn a blog that started life on a Google Blogger subdomain into the Largest Technology Blog in Nigeria and quite possibly the largest in Africa. Paschal has been Building, Analyzing, and Maintaining Websites for over 17 years and also shares his wealth of knowledge and experience about building and managing websites on NaijaTechGuide.

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