•Beneficiaries to own energy after three years
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The World Bank is to provide some grants for federal government’s N140 billion solar home systems scheduled to take-off this week, THISDAY learnt at the weekend.
The solar home systems, conceived to guarantee power supply for 25 million individuals in no fewer than five million homes across the country are part of the federal government’s economic sustainability plan (ESP) for economic recovery.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice-President), Mr. Laolu Akande, at the weekend, said the initiative was designed to fundamentally address the challenge of power supply in the country.
THISDAY also learnt at the weekend that the World Bank, which had offered to participate in the initiative would provide 20 per cent grants to finance the retail cost of the solar system nationwide.
The solar home systems, under the ESP scheme, designed to serve Nigerians who are not connected to the national power grid, it was learnt, could be fully owned by beneficiaries after three years with a maximum monthly payment of N4,000 over a 3-year period.
Akande said the ESP solar programme which has been nicknamed Solar Power Naija would be implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
He said the initiative would accord priority to Nigerians residing in both rural areas and urban settlements who are either under-served or totally cut off the national grid.
He explained that the scheme offers 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.
According to him, the arrangement allows as many as 25 million Nigerians to own personal solar systems in their respective homes.
As contained in the economic sustainability plan, Akande explained that the target 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 REA.
He listed the objectives of the programme to include: expansion of energy access to 25 million individuals (5 million new connections) through the provision of solar home systems (SHS) or connection to a mini-grid.
Other objectives, he added, are to increase local content in the off-grid solar value chain; facilitating the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry and incentivising the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector.
He said benefits derivable from the programme aside from the creation of access to cheap and clean energy would include impacting the local solar assembly industry.
He said: “The programme will include the assembly or manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing industry.
“In view of the scale of materials required, solar equipment manufacturers/assemblers will be incentivized 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.”
THISDAY learnt that the connection of 25 million new Nigerians to solar energy as well as the ongoing implementation of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), is among measures adopted by the federal government to address the nation’s energy crisis.
REA, through its off-grid solar programme, is said to have already connected the people of Olooji community in Ijebu East area of Ogun State to electricity, for the first time in 200 years.
According to information available to THISDAY, Olooji solar hybrid has a total capacity of 100 kilowatts (KW) completed with 304 solar panels, 72 batteries and over 30kw of distribution network cables, serving over 4000 people.