Nigerians Should Embrace Solar Energy – Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has advised Nigerians to embrace solar energy to reduce pressure on the national grid. Fashola gave the advice in Lagos at a book launch.

He made references to a book titled “Solar Electricity Generation for off-grid communities in Nigeria”, which was written by Mr Oladele Amoda, the Managing Director, Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC).

Fashola advised Nigerians to invest in solar energy as solar energy remained energy for the future. “Solar energy is very important to reach Nigerians living in various communities that are difficult to reach by the Disco.

“We are committed to incremental power and policies that will drive the power sector; Solar is one of the renewable energy,” he said.

The minister, however, allayed fears of Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) over the deployment of more solar power through mini-grids and other Federal Government initiatives aimed at improving service in the power sector.

He commended Amoda’s initiative in authoring a book that would address power sector challenges, adding that Amoda was outstanding.

He said that the book presentation was timely as power sector would start to witness dry session by next month

The minister said that power generation had increased from 2,600 megawatts to 7, 000 megawatts, while power wheeled out was gradually increasing to 7,000 megawatts.

Prof. Bart Nnaji, a former Minister of Power, commended Amoda for his painstaking research and knowledge input in a book that would address power sector challenges and proffered solutions

Nnaji, the Chairman of Geometric Power, said that Amoda had transformed the power sector under his watch as the managing director of Eko disco.

He said that renewable energy remained a major focus of power sector growth and development in rural communities in Nigeria. He urged stakeholders in the power sector to support the minister in developing the sector to deliver desired results in the country.

“Eko Disco was the best performing Disco during the privatisation era, so, am not surprised that Amoda authored a book. “Am not surprised to see an excellent managing director of Disco understood the prospects and challenges of the power sector,” he said.

Amoda said that the essence of the book was to create awareness on important alternative energy in Nigeria as Nigerians could not continue to depend on the use of fossil fuel that was given environmental issues.

He said that renewable energy also reduced incessant vandalism synonymous with conventional energy theft in the network.

US Firm To Power 25 Communities With Solar Energy

Two firms have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to power 25 communities in Bayelsa, Ondo, Ogun and Osun states with solar energy.

A Nigerian firm, Community Energy Social Enterprises Limited, on Tuesday, signed a $767,512 MoU with Renewvia Energy Corporation, an American company, to provide solar energy for some communities on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis.

The CESEL Managing Director, Dr. Patrick Tolani, signed the agreement on behalf of his company with Mr. Clay Taber, Managing Director, Renewvia in Abuja.

Tolani said the MoU was for the development of solar microgrids in 25 communities, stating that communities to benefit from the projects were those that had no access to electricity for more than 10 years, including Brass in Bayelsa and  Magboro in  Ogun State.

Others, he said, included Ilaje and Igbokoda in Ondo State, and a community, which was completely cut off from the grid because of isolation in Osun State.

Taber, in his remarks, explained that Renewvia would install and operate microgrid systems with solar photovoltaic generation capacity and battery storage in the 25 benefiting communities.

According to him, the design of the microgrids for the project will include PV panels, string inverters, aluminium racking and energy storage backup power.

He said, “It is expected that the majority of the power off takers for the project would be residential and commercial end-users located within one kilometre of the microgrid generation units that would be connected at the time of project construction.

“Renewvia and CESEL would sell microgrid customers electricity by Kilowatts through a ‘pay-as-you-go’ structure.

“The competitiveness of the system helps to ensure payment as the project will provide consistent and reliable power at a less-expensive price than current rural power generation by diesel.”

He said Renewvia and CESEL also planned to facilitate the transaction through mobile payments, noting that the project would employ local and remote resources to support the needs of the power plant for each microgrid.

The project is supported by Power Africa, a US energy project initiated in 2013 to assist African countries in accessing energy.

The US Trade and Development Agency will provide grant to CESEL for the feasibility study that will access the rollout of 25 solar microgrids in rural and peri-urban communities across Nigeria.

It is expected that the project will provide up to 10 megawatts and connect over 10, 000 households, according to a study by Renewvia.

The MoU signing was witnessed by Power Africa Coordinator, Andrew Herscowitz, and the US Agency for International Development mission director in Nigeria, Michael Harvey.