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25 Million Nigerians To Own 5Million Solar Panels, Pay N4000 Monthly

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DESIGNED to fundamentally address the challenge of power supply in the country, the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration from this week is starting a Solar Home Systems, under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), where with only about N4,000 monthly over a three-year period, 25 million Nigerians not served by the national grid will own solar panels outright in their residences.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the vice president’s office, Mr Laolu Akande, made the disclosure in response to media inquiries about the cost of the ESP solar programme nicknamed ‘SOLAR POWER NAIJA’, for which installations start in December.

Tribune reports that Akande disclosed that the ESP solar programme was being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). Media reports had indicated that priority would be given to Nigerians residing in rural areas and urban settlements either underserved or totally cut off the national grid.

He added that an important aspect of the scheme was the option of outright ownership by beneficiaries at a cost ranging from N1,500 per week to N4,000 monthly, depending on the capacities for a period of three years, noting that the arrangement allowed as many as 25 million Nigerians to own personal solar systems in their respective homes.

As indicated in the ESP, the five million connections initiative is a private sector-led electricity access acceleration scheme to be facilitated by a low-cost loan facility from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and implemented by the REA.

The objectives of the programme are to expand energy access to 25 million individuals (five 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 facilitating the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry; incentivise the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector.

Emphasising the point about benefits derivable from the programme aside the creation of access to cheap and clean energy, Akande noted the local solar assembly industry would be impacted.

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He said “the programme will include the assembly or manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate growth of the local manufacturing industry.

“In view of the scale of materials required, solar equipment manufacturers/ assemblers will be incentivised to set up facilities in Nigeria, thereby offering additional job opportunities to Nigerians. In addition, installation, servicing and payment collections are expected to provide thousands of other jobs. In all, at least 250,000 jobs will be created.”

Explaining the role of the World Bank in the project, another Presidency official, who pleaded anonymity, said the World Bank which was also participating in the plan, was providing a grant to finance 20 per cent of the retail cost of the solar system across the country.

The source observed that the connection of 25 million new Nigerians to clean energy and the ongoing implementation of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), amongst other measures adopted to address the energy problem, the Federal Government is, indeed, on course to address the nation’s energy crisis.

It will be recalled that the REA, the lead implementing agencies of the Solar Home System had through its offgrid solar programme connected the people of Olooji community (Ijebu East) in Ogun State to electricity for the first time in 200 years.

Olooji solar hybrid has a total capacity of 100 kilowatts completed with 304 solar panels, 72 batteries and over 30 kilometres of distribution network cables, serving over 4000 people. The off-grid solar project was implemented under the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and is one of 12 solar mini grids across the country in addition to 19,000 solar home systems implemented under the programme through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

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