UK Builds £230,000 Solar Plant to Support Africa’s Clean Energy

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Peter Uzoho

The United Kingdom’s International Development Minister, Mr. Andrew Murrison, has inaugurated a new £230,000 power repair lab at Clarke Energy, in Merseyside, Liverpool, to improve the standards of solar products in Nigeria, create new jobs, train staff, procure and install testing equipment.

The lab is funded through the DFID Africa Clean Energy (ACE) programme in conjunction with Lighting Africa and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

Clarke Energy is the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) Export Champion and has been working closely with Clarke Energy through events and missions since 2009.

While inaugurating the facility during his visit to Clarke Energy recently, Morrison was quoted in a statement as saying that Liverpool engineers would help African nations shift towards clean energy, announcing extra UK aid to help develop innovative solar products for African nation’s.

According to the statement, the minister met the Overhaul and Repair Centre Manager, Dave Nicholls, to see first-hand how high efficiency gas engines are being repaired in Knowsley in Merseyside and sent back to African nations.

The statement added that similar units being deployed across Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon will improve the reliability of power to businesses and communities, helping to keep the lights on and power flowing in countries with unstable energy systems.

He was also to have heard how the engineering company will provide 10MW in electrical output in Kano, and has secured contracts with Nigerian companies, Mamuda Group, a conglomerate with over 7,000 employees in the region, and a beauty and personal care & home care firm Aspira Nigeria.
By supplying natural gas engines, this would help reduce costs, lower emissions and benefit whole communities.

Murrison, also announced a new DFID-funded testing lab for solar products ensuring that solar panels and appliances meet global standards and households have access to good quality, reliable clean energy.

“Clarke Energy is just one great example of how UK businesses – including those from Liverpool – are already leading the way in investing in Africa.

“Clarke Energy’s investment in Africa shows how UK expertise, technology and innovation are improving access to cleaner forms of energy, which can be replicated by businesses across the UK and Africa,” Morrison said.

He, however, stated that the UK-Africa Investment Summit was expected to help forge closer trading partnerships to deliver more investment, jobs and growth benefitting people and businesses across Africa and the UK.

Also speaking at the opening of the power facility, Director for Marketing and Compliance at Clarke Energy, Alex Marshall, said: “The knowledge the UK Government has both locally in the North West of England and across Africa is outstanding and helped us to navigate what can be a tough market with political considerations, language and cultural differences.

“Being part of what’s set to be the world’s third largest mosque is a key milestone in our exporting journey and our work with the UK government has been core to that success.
“If a business from Knowsley can export on such a large scale, with the right support and hard work, anyone can make a success of trading overseas.”