Case Studies

Ridwan, Global Sustainability Award Winner 2024

20th May 2024

Through his ground-breaking work designing and delivering solar energy systems, especially in off-grid rural areas, our Global Sustainability Award winner Ridwan is helping to bring light and power to countless Nigerians.

Ridwan had always aspired to a green job. But after graduating, he struggled to break into the sector and secure his first position. Our Get Into Renewable Energy programme provided a pathway to work, and Ridwan, 27, is now a key figure at market-leading Starsight Energy, working on energy auditing and solar system design. ‘The Get Into Programme led me to secure my dream job, providing not just sustenance but also fulfilment,’ he says.

Ridwan has a B.Tech in project management technology, with further studies in renewable energy but, despite his qualifications, he couldn’t find an opening. ‘Until 2021, my dream of entering the renewable energy sector faced persistent hurdles,’ Ridwan explains. ‘However, in that year, I discovered the Get Into Programme by Prince’s Trust International, thanks to Field of Skills and Dreams (FSD). This program became the turning point in realizing my aspirations.’

The Get Into programme is a free, employer-led training course. In oil-rich Nigeria, the programme focuses on supporting young people to enter and thrive in jobs in the green economy, and the content varies depending on the sector – a mixture of general employability skills and technical, sector-specific knowhow, followed by a work experience placement. Each step of the programme paves the way for the next.

Let there be light

Ridwan stood out on the programme for his exceptional commitment and skill, and he was immediately offered a job by the employer where he did his work placement. Since then, he has continued to shine, while also bringing light to others.

In Nigeria, there is a huge difference between energy access in the cities, where 89% of people have electricity, and in the countryside, where it is available to only a quarter of the population (26%).

In areas which are still unreached by the electric grid, solar energy could play a key role in widening access to electricity in a sustainable and affordable way. Through his ground-breaking work on solar system design, Ridwan is helping to drive this change forwards.

Ridwan’s designs are renowned for their ingenuity and sensitivity to local circumstances. His designs draw on whatever resources are available locally, prioritising affordability and accessibility. These are all key considerations, especially in low-income rural regions.

No wasted energy

In the second part of his role, energy auditing, Ridwan assesses energy consumption and identifies inefficiencies in industrial, commercial and residential settings. By pinpointing areas of waste and suggesting improvements, Ridwan’s audits, which are celebrated for their precision, help enhance efficiency and lower costs.

Ridwan’s dual efforts aim to help reduce the strain on the overstretched national grid, as well as contributing to diversifying the energy mix in Nigeria, which has historically been heavily dependent on fossil fuels. Renewable energy is still a young, emerging sector here, but it is one that is growing fast and has immense potential.

Ridwan is keen to play his part in building a resilient and sustainable energy system that drives economic growth while also lowering carbon emissions.

‘From a young age, I harboured a deep curiosity about energy conservation and innovative solutions, ultimately shaping my career in renewable energy,’ he explains. ‘I recognize its potential to bolster a nation’s economy in today’s world.’

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