*Nigerians will not need power from national grid again soon
By Sandra Onyekwere
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has disclosed that most Nigerian homes and offices would soon be dependent on the use of solar power and no longer require electricity from the national grid.
Osinbajo said the growing favourable economics of using renewable energy sources like solar photovoltaics (PV) to generate electricity means that Nigeria will now have to use off grid renewable energy solutions to close the wide deficit in stable electricity supply to its citizens, especially for those in the rural areas.
Speaking in Wuna community on the outskirts of Abuja when he kicked off the presidential initiative on solar homes systems, the acting president explained that Nigeria would leverage on the falling costs of deploying solar PV to move a good number of her citizens away from depending on the national grid.
The pay-as-you-go solar initiative launched by Osinbajo would be funded and implemented by the Niger Delta Power Holdings Plc (NDPHC) in partnership with Azuri Technologies.
Osinbajo also stated that the national grid was just a single transmission system and that every Nigerian cannot be connected to it, but can reliably get electricity from off grid sources.
“We think that as solar power becomes cheaper, and it is becoming cheaper practically day by day, we will be able to afford to do even more and deploying more across the country especially to places that are not served by the grid.
“The grid is just one transmission centre if you like, but we cannot take all our power from the grid. And so in the next few years, it will not be absolutely important for you be connected to the grid because we will be deploying every types of off grid solutions that we can deploy and we want to do that in the industrial areas,” Osinbajo said.
He said on the need for Nigeria to pivot to off grid solar power, “There is absolutely no reason why our country that has possibly the best radiation anywhere in the world should not embrace solar – many parts of Nigeria especially in the northern parts, radiation is excellent, and so we are going to do our best to use solar power to the maximum especially wherever we can find the best radiation.”
He noted that the initiative would target to provide 20,000 homes with solar power systems, and that the government was talking with private operators to partner it in expounding its reach.
“We expect that this will be replicated all over Nigeria, we are starting with 20,000 but I am sure we will ramp up very quickly. We have been talking to the private sector about involving themselves also on this project,” Osinbajo noted.
The Managing Director of NDPHC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, stated in his remarks that the initiative was part of the firm’s mandate to reduce the country’s electricity supply deficit.
Ugbo explained that 200 homes in Wuna would benefit from the scheme, and would eventually own it after some periods of monthly repayments.
“There are many Nigerians (estimated at 70 million) without any connection to the grid who still rely on rudimentary lighting systems characterised mainly by use of kerosene lamps, candles and petrol generators with attendant health and safety risks and indeed financial challenges,” he noted.
According to him:, “By the Solar-Home-System initiative being launched by the vice-president today, (yesterday), NDPHC will be actively involved in the process of bringing power to these rural communities, thereby stimulating social and economic activities in the rural communities located off the grid.”
“Under the first phase of the programme, NDPHC will deploy about 20,000 units of solar home systems to the underserved rural communities with no access to grid electricity supply. NDPHC has deployed 200 units of the SHS as pilot programme here in Wuna. The beneficiaries of the 20,000 units are among the already identified communities of the 19 northern states of the federation. The units will be deployed within a period of 12 months.
“NDPHC adopted a community-based approach that will allow the rural low-income dwellers an opportunity to participate in this project. This approach allows a monthly payment for energy and also acquisition of the SHS unit after a certain period of time.”