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Published On: Tue, May 13th, 2014

Renewable energy utilisation to bridge power deficit in rural areas-Nebo

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The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu NeboBy Etuka Sunday

The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has disclosed the plan of the ministry to grow renewable energy resources utilisation and deployment in Nigeria considering the low level of electricity generation and transmission in the country.

This he said was the only way to reach the rural communities that are far away from the national grid.

Nebo spoke during a facility tour at the National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Solar Energy Limited (Solar panel manufacturing plant) in Karshi, FCT and their Small Hydro installation at Gada, Akwanga in Nasarawa State.

He said, “It was so good when we launched Operation Light-up Rural Nigeria (OLRN) that the leadership of NASENI contacted the Ministry of Power to partner with them. So we felt one way to do that is to come and have a visual, real technical visit to learn as much as possible from what they are doing because I would rather patronise them than patronise foreign companies; I would rather create more jobs in Nigeria by utilising what they are doing.”

According to him, “The potentials are so enormous, solar is the only thing you can deploy to every part of Nigeria and get electricity. We have challenges with wind because the onshore wind velocity is not quite amenable wind turbines, and only select part of the country would use that. Then for biomass there are places we don’t have biomass and so on.”

So solar is a veritable tool for making sure electricity gets to every nook and corner in Nigeria.

NASENI, as we have seen has very diligent methodology of quality control of making sure that whatever they sent out there is exactly what it is at the minimum. If it is 185w, they will write 180w, so you are actually getting it better than what you see on the solar panel label, and that is the way it should be.

“It has excellent prospects but it needs to be encouraged. 7.5mw can only take care of few communities. Many communities will need as much as 500kw, so you are thinking of only 15 communities and there are local governments in Nigeria that have more than 15 communities. So what NASENI is producing now is not enough but I believe that when we begin to patronise them and everybody else sees the need to patronise them, then they will grow their capacity to manufacture, and like we were told, they could move to 25mw and even replicate this round the country which will help to push solar all over Nigeria, which I believe is one way we have quick wind of power deployed across the country,” he said.

Also speaking, the National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Mohammed Haruna, “The solar factory as you have seen is a demonstration plant and it was started as part of our research and development and we want to prove that it can work in Nigeria. So it is a 7.5mw pilot plant and it is producing solar panels of high quality standard and the products are available in the market.”

“The production is still an assembly plant and we have a target and a programme approved by the President to work with the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) to start manufacturing the solar cells here using the raw materials in abundance in Nigeria. This will enable the expansion of this plant from 7.5mw, first 25mw and allow its duplication in anywhere in Nigeria, and then to serve as a backup for any private industry that would want to establish similar industry.”

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