The Federal Government is set to launch start a Solar Home Systems program under the Economic Sustainability Plan, where with only about N4000 monthly over a 3-year period, 25 million Nigerians not served by the national grid, will outrightly own solar panels in their residences.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Vice President’s office Mr. Laolu Akande made the disclosure in response to media inquiries about the cost of the ESP Solar programme nick named SOLAR POWER NAIJA for which installations starts in December. Akande disclosed that the ESP Solar programme is being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.
Media reports had indicated that priority will be given to Nigerians residing in rural areas and urban settlements either under-served or totally cut off the national grid. Akande added that an important aspect of the scheme is 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 3 years, noting that the arrangement allows as many as 25 million Nigerians to own personal solar systems in their respective homes.
As indicated in the Economic Sustainability Plan, the 5 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 the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
The objectives of the programme are: Expand energy access to 25 million individuals (5 million new connections) through the provision of solar home systems (SHS) or connection to a mini grid; Increase local content in the off-grid solar value chain and facilitating the growth of the local manufacturing and assembly industry Incentivize the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector.
Emphasizing the point about benefits derivable from the programme aside the creation of access to cheap and clean energy, Akande noted the local solar assembly industry will be impacted.
“the programme will include the assembly or manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate 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.”
Explaining the role of the World Bank in the project another Presidency official who pleaded anonymity said that the World Bank which is also participating in the plan, is providing a grant to finance 20 percent of the retail cost of the solar system across the country.
The source observed that the connection of 25 million new Nigerians to clean energy and the ongoing implementation of the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP), amongst other measures adopted to address the energy problem, the Federal Government is indeed on course to address the nation’s energy crisis. It will recalled that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the lead implementing agencies of the Solar Home System had through its off-grid solar programme connected the people of Olooji community (Ijebu east) in Ogun State to electricity, for the first time in 200 years. Olooji solar hybrid has a total capacity of 100kw completed with 304 solar panels, 72 batteries and over 30KM of distribution network cables, serving over 4000 people. The off-grid solar project was implemented under the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and is one of twelve solar mini grids across the country in addition to 19,000 solar home systems implemented under the programme through a Public Private Partnership (PPP).