Tonye Irims, CEO of WiSolar, tells us about the tech-first solar electricity company and the impact of Covid-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Tonye Irims: We are doing great, keeping it together, thank you.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded WiSolar.
Tonye Irims: I founded WiSolar in 2016 after many experiences of being cut off the electricity grid with hefty reconnection fees.
I made the leap full time into the operation of WiSolar with my knowledge and experience in mobile technology. We began by breaking the solar electricity system sizes into easy-to-understand standardized packages with different price points for customers, then solar financing, then prepaid solar electricity for residential developments. We were the first to market with these innovations, and we were recognized for this.
How does WiSolar market its product/services online?
Tonye Irims: We are a tech-first solar electricity company, so we use a multiplicity of online tools to interact with our remote teams and engage with customers.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Tonye Irims: We had distributed teams and had embraced work-from-anywhere as long as you get your job done as part of our DNA and culture even before the pandemic, so it did not affect our operations, and we did not need to activate a contingency plan. At WiSolar, we focus on deliverables, not location.
On a personal level, I had a Covid encounter, and it shot me down for all of December 2021 in spite of my best efforts to protect myself from the virus. Needless to say, it was one helluva experience. Coming out of it reinforced my belief in physical well-being in our work community.
What makes your business different from any other business?
Tonye Irims: We are a full-service solar company. We offer standardized solar electricity packages, solar financing and installation with nationwide installers, and prepaid solar electricity for residential clusters and new developments.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tonye Irims: We plan on staying in the game and remaining competitive by consistently innovating and refining our differentiation points, dedication, discipline, and teamwork to become better versions of ourselves, day after day, month after month, year after year.
Your final thoughts?
Tonye Irims: WiSolar is positioning itself as a Pan African Green Digital Utility for low-cost electricity. We intend to intensify our presence in Nigeria and expand into Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
We recently embarked on an ambitious project to create 1000 jobs for solar engineers in South Africa over the next 5 years that fit WiSolar’s ethos and are willing to learn and grow.