Stakeholders Lament Africa’s 1% Solar PV Penetration, Seek Massive Investment

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Stakeholders in Nigeria’s renewable energy space have lamented the just 1 per cent penetration of solar PVs on the African continent, maintaining that the government must provide incentives for massive investment in the sector.

The experts and business persons who came under the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Associations-Alliance (REEEA-A) spoke at a training session for journalists as well as persons with disabilities in Abuja.

The Executive Secretary of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC), Dr Joy Ogaji, who was a resource person at the event, noted that although the continent has about 60 per cent of the world’s best solar resources, it is yet to fully take advantage of the materials.

However, she stated that the new Electricity Act now provides a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for stimulate policies to attract sustainable investments in new and efficient power generation technology and revamp existing power plants to address technology limitation and outdated infrastructure that are responsible for value chain losses in the industry.

“Africa is already facing more severe climate change than most other parts of the world, … and home to 60 per cent of the best solar resources globally, yet only 1 per cent of installed solar PV capacity,” she said.

In rural areas, where over 80 per cent of the electricity-deprived live, she argued that mini-grids and stand-alone systems, mostly solar based, are the most viable solutions.

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sending food, energy and other commodity prices soaring, she said that this was increasing the strains on African economies already hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Ogaji, Africa consumes a meagre 3.3 per cent of the world’s electricity, with domestic demand in West African countries still too low to attract investments in large projects that benefit from economies of scale.

For West Africa to ensure energy security for her growing economies, she argued that developing a strategic framework through regional integration coordination and benchmark must be promoted when developing respective energy sectors.

She maintained that there was urgent need to move towards willing seller/willing buyer contracts to effectively balance risk and reward in the industry.

Ogaji also pointed out that an institutional alignment aimed at engendering transparency and accountability in the implementation of renewable energy projects was required.

On Nigeria’s vision 30:30:30, Ogaji argued that it would need a general buy-in of the populace, stressing that majority of Nigerians have never even heard of of the vision, not to talk of understanding the roadmap towards its implementation.

In her remarks, the Founder/Chairman, Women Green Energy Institute and first female President of the Council for Renewable Energy, Nigeria (CREN), Anita Okuribido, underscored the need for collaboration and working with state governors to ensure that the message of renewable energy is propagated.

Some other stakeholders who spoke at the event included the President of the Governing Council of the REEEA-A, Prof Magnus Onuoha, a renewable energy consultant, Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, who spoke on the need to take advantage of the opportunities in the growing sector, among others.

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