Off grid communities in Nigeria are set to be electrified through a recently launched program dubbed ‘Solar Power Naija’. The plan released by the Federal Government of Nigeria will see 25 million individuals get energy access through 5 million connections. Energy access and rural electrification form a big part of Nigeria’s economic recovery plan, the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which was launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Nigerian Government is committed to resolving the challenges and delivering the president’s objective to deliver efficient, stable, and reliable power to Nigerians and put Nigeria on the path to economic recovery,” said Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to a media statement issued by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the programme will generate an estimated N7 billion ($18 million) increase in tax revenues per annum and $10 million in annual import substitution.
Solar Power Naija’s objectives
The solar connection Scheme launched by the Federal government of Nigeria has three main objectives, which are:
- Expand energy access to 25 million individuals (5 million new connections) through the provision of Solar Home Systems (SHS) or connection to a mini grid;
- Increase local content in the off grid solar value chain and facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry;
- Incentivize the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector
Localisation will be prioritised during the implementation of the program in order to maximise the job creation potential of the program to its fullest. This also aligns with the Nigerian government’s plan to grow its local manufacturing capacity.
Nigeria’s growing off grid solar market
Lack of investment has been hampering the growth of Nigeria off grid solar market despite a huge appetite for solar and tremendous growth potential. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working on addressing the funding gap through the Solar Connection Intervention Facility. The facility provides long-term low interest credit loans to the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) pre-qualified SHS distributors and mini grid development companies. This also include qualified home solar value chain players such as manufacturers and assemblers of solar components
The Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, expressed optimism over the determination of the Federal Government to transform the power sector in accordance with its Next Level agenda. He stated that, “This is a testament to our dedication and commitment to scaling the off-grid solar market through provision of long term low interest credit facilities to the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) pre-qualified home solar value chain players that include manufacturers and assemblers of solar components and off-grid energy developers and retailers in the country.”