Be Smart About South Africa

Nigeria’s Biggest Solar Power Programme

Nigeria’s largest investment in solar power is part of the country’s Covid economic recovery plan. The project, Solar Power Naija, is also a step towards solving one of Nigeria’s biggest problems: a lack of reliable electricity. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, Nigeria has pledged to cut carbon emissions 20% by 2030. To get there, it aims to generate 30% of its energy from renewables. To make progress, 10% of the government’s 2.3-trillion naira of spending to spur recovery from the pandemic will be used to install 5-million solar home systems. The aim is to provide electricity to 25-million people in rural communities that now have no access to the grid. With Solar Power Naija, the government is aiming to fix the development problems that a lack of access to electricity has created, as well as the pollution that fuel-powered generators, one of the most popular power sources, cause. The rollout will focus on building stand-alone connections, which use solar panels to charge batteries that can then be used at any time, and mini-grids, which operate in a similar way but can service larger needs. Both will function separately from the national grid. The project will also give bidders from across the industry low-interest government loans instead of contracts or grants to finance the equipment and construction — a departure from Nigeria’s normal approach to electrification. Companies will repay what they’ve borrowed with income from customers.


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