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FG plans five million solar power units in rural communities

May 12, 2023

The Federal Government is partnering with investors to deploy five million solar power connections in communities that are not connected to the national electricity grid.

Under its Solar Power Naija Programme, the government, through the Rural Electrification Agency, held an investor match-making event in Abuja on Tuesday to provide the opportunity for potential investors to pitch their financial offerings to developers.

The REA is the Implementing agency of the Federal Government under the Federal Ministry of Power tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities to boost economic growth through the supply of electricity.

The agency stated in a document that “the Solar Power Naija Programme was launched as part of the Economic Sustainability Plan to achieve the roll-out of five million new solar connections in off-grid communities.”

It added, “This programme is expected to generate an additional N7bn increase in tax revenues per annum and $10m in annual import substitution. The objective of the programme is to expand energy access to 25 million individuals (five million new connections) through the provision of Solar Home Systems or connection to a mini-grid.

“It is to increase local content in the off-grid solar value chain and facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry and incentivise the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector.”

The event, which was organised in collaboration with the Power Africa Nigeria Power Sector Programme, provided a networking and match-making forum that brought together key investors and high-performing developers in the power sector.

Speaking at the programme, the Managing Director, REA, Salihijo Ahmad, encouraged partnerships among investors and the government to boost community energy access.

“As the implementing agency for Nigeria’s off-grid strategy, the REA has been working to support private developers by creating an enabling environment to facilitate investments in various ways.

“This includes access to data, policy support, grants, capacity development, stakeholder management, and most importantly, financing for Developers,” he stated.

In his remarks, the Acting Deputy Missions Director, USAID Nigeria, Stephan Menard, encouraged the private developers to take advantage of the initiative in accessing financing to improve the lives of Nigerians through sustainable energy access.

On her part, the Head, Solar Power Naija Programme, Barbara Izilien, said, “We hope with this approach, we will be able to build quick partnerships that would lead to new connections and further count towards our target of electrifying a minimum of five million households, serving a minimum of 25 million Nigerians.”

The event witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the REA and Chapel Hill Denham, through the Solar Power Naija Programme, to facilitate financing to developers for off-grid electrification projects.

The REA said the programme was in line with its mandate to create an enabling environment for private sector-led projects, which include conducting feasibility assessments, energy audits, enumeration, data analysis, identification of qualified private sector developers, and project stakeholder engagements. (Punch)

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