The federal government says it will commence the installation of N140 billion off-grid solar home systems in rural communities across the country from the first week of December.
Confirming the development, Laolu Akande, the senior special assistant on media and publicity to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the initiative is a continuation of coordinated implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said the initiative involves 5 million home systems to about 25 million people in under-served and off-grid communities across the country.
The programme will include the assembly and manufacturing of components of off-grid solutions to facilitate the growth of the local manufacturing industry, while the use of local content will be prioritised.
A presidency source also noted that the objective of providing cheap credit for companies involved in the programme is to significantly reduce the cost of acquiring the system by end-users who are Nigerians unconnected to the national grid.
“Based on the plan of the economic sustainability committee set up earlier in the year by the President who asked the Vice President to chair, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will make available funds to the private companies in the solar power sub-sector involved in the manufacture, assembling, installation, servicing of the solar systems, at rates ranging between 5 to 10 per cent, way below the current commercial lending rates in the country,” the official said.
“The reduction in the lending rate will be a big incentive for the private sector under the ESP while also making power and energy more affordable for the 25 million Nigerians when compared to consumers of electric power.
“The solar home system is an important component of the Buhari administration’s ESP, designed as part of measures by the Federal Government to ramp up power supply across the country by catering specifically for communities not connected to the national grid. It is also part of the administration’s strategy to address the overall challenges and issues in the power sector as Solar is not only cheaper but considered to be cleaner and renewable.
“Regarding jobs, the ESP 5m Solar installation is expected to create about 250,000 jobs including in manufacturing, assembling, installations, maintenance and payment systems.”