‘Nigeria can generate 600,000mw from solar energy’


4 October 2011, Sweetcrude, Abeokuta – Director-General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Prof. Abubakar Sambo, says one per cent of Nigeria’s land area could be used to generate about 600,000 megawatts of electricity using solar energy.

Sambo said at the inauguration of a solar energy project donated by Schneider Electric to Asori community in Ado-Odo-Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State that Nigeria should tap solar energy, being the best form of renewable energy.

He maintained that by using solar photovoltaic panels of only five per cent efficiency, the country could generate close to 600,000mw, from only one per cent of its land area.

But, he noted that the investment cost of the solar modules was very high, but pointed out that the life span of the solar panel could be as long as 25 years.

He also disclosed that despite the huge cost of solar energy, the pay-back period was only about four to five years.

“The only problem is the cost. As of now, the investment cost of the solar modules is high. But I will quickly tell you that when you have the solar panel, it can be used for up to 25 years. The only ones that you replace regularly are the storage batteries – four to five years. The inverters and charge controllers can last for very long period. So, the pay-back period, despite the cost, will be something between four and five years,” he said.
He said renewable energy was always available on cyclic basis, stressing that it would never be exhausted, unlike the conventional energy of oil, coal and gas.

Sambo said the Federal Government, through the ECN was compelled to advise states and local governments on sustainable energy practices.

“As long as there is life in us, solar energy will always be there, everyday. When the Sun comes up, solar energy begins to be available. We also have wind as a renewable energy. Wind arises as a result of extra-terrestrial solar heating of the air masses in the extra-terrestrial space; leading to pressure differences, manifesting in the flow of air.

“We can also tap significant amount of energy from wind. Hydropower as you know is also coming as a result of cyclic activities of the rainy reason. Rivers are there and we can tap. We also have biomass – biofuels; they are all part of renewable energy. They are always available on cyclic basis,” he said.

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