Nigeria's expanding solar energy market, journey towards affordability


As the world transitions to alternative sources of energy, Nigeria in terms of electricity still grapples with inadequate power supply to its increasing population.


Interestingly, the country’s source of supply is largely dependent on grid power whose efficiency is determined by generation, transmission and distribution factors.


According to World Bank’s data of 2021, 85 million Nigerians still do not have access to grid electricity, representing 43 percent of the country’s population.


Nigeria is the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, but limitations in the power sector constrain growth. Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resources, and it has the potential to generate 12,522 MW of electric power from existing plants. On most days, however, it is only able to dispatch a little above 4,000 MW, which is insufficient for a country of over 195 million people.


Apart from erratic supply, which is hindering growth of large and small-scale businesses, however, there are some unserved and underserved customers, who are not connected to the grid.


This is the gap the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) seeks to address through its Nigerian Electrification Programme(NEP).


The programme which is a product of $550million loan facility from the World Bank and African Development Bank is targeted at providing off-grid reliable and clean electricity supply to 705,000 households, 90,000 MSMEs, 100 isolation and treatment centres and primary healthcare centresin underserved and unserved areas across the country.


Under this programme, provision of captive solar hybrid power plants to 15 Federal tertiary institutions and two teaching hospitals also suffices.


A breakdown of the amount, according to data from the agency showed that $213million was earmarked for solar hybrid Minigrids, $75 million for stand-alone solar home systems, $250 million Energising Education Programme, $20million for Energy Efficient Equipment and Productive use of appliances and lastly, $37million technical assistance.


So far, the agency, under the programme has been able to deploy over 995,000 solar homes systems with over a million connections.


No doubt, renewable energy solutions like solar are the way to go. Apart from provision of clean, reliable and renewable energy, the project promotes electricity access for households, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and public education institutions.

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