The Federal Government said efforts have been made to deliver electricity to about 25m Nigerians whose communities are off the grid.
With the flag-off in Jigawa State, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo restated the government determination to ensure that millions of Nigerians have access to cheap and environmentally friendly renewable power.
Coming under the Economic Sustainability Plan, Prof Osinbajo said the launch of the Solar Power Naija programme was taking off with the Jangefe Community in Roni Local Government Area (in the Kazaure Emirate) of the State and will soon get to all geopolitical zones in the country.
After Jangefe, ” according to the Vice President, the rollout will continue “across the 6 geopolitical zones in Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau. Other Solar companies are also in the pipeline for the Solar Power Naija facility to continue the march to 5 million connections during the life of this administration,” the Vice President said.
According to Osinbajo, the scheme will then go to the entire 36 States and the FCT covering 25million Nigerians in the end.
He said the commencement of the Solar Power Naija programme means the community will get 1,000 Solar Home Systems connections for its about 5,000 population.
Specifically, the Vice President, flagged off the commencement of the installation in Jigawa, in what is said to be part of a 100,000 scheme with A-SOLAR, a local solar power company implementing aspects of the ESP Solar Power Naija scheme.
The Jangefe community in Jigawa, which is the first location to be covered by the A-Solar company, will pay monthly energy payments until the systems are fully paid for at the point in which there will be a transfer of ownership to each consumer in the community.
The Vice President noted that the “President had emphasised that we could no longer rely solely on the grid if we were to electrify the whole country. Which meant that we had to develop an effective strategy for decentralizing the power supply. Two obvious things to do were, first to think of implementing more off-grid solutions and to use renewable energy especially solar power.”
Another challenge turned opportunity was Covid-19 and our response to the economic fallouts of the pandemic – the Economic Sustainability Plan. A fundamental rationale for the plan was to retain existing jobs and create new jobs. A mass solar programme seemed like a real chance to kill several birds with one stone; electrify the country and in the process, create thousands of jobs from solar assembly and manufacturing plants to installers, payment system operators, and maintenance of solar systems once installed.
“Mr. President, therefore, approved the inclusion of what came to be known as the Solar Power Naija programme in the Economic Sustainability Plan which he asked me to chair.
The Solar Power Naija programme which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency is an ambitious initiative that aims to create 5 million connections through a 140 billion Naira financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for 5 million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.
Prof. Osinbajo further stated that the solar power programme is a public-private sector partnership supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks.