16 December 2011, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) has gotten the Federal government’s approval to commence the deployment of locally produced solar panels in the Niger Delta.
The Director General of the Agency, Prof. Olusegun Adewoye, who spoke with some newsmen at the Nigeria Energy and Power Summit (NEPS) in Abuja, stressed that the approval, which was given at the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council last week, marked a turning point in the agency’s efforts to discourage the importation of solar panels.
He said: “Right now, the Federal Executive Council has approved our paper on demonstration of solar panel, solar engineering and solar energy, to demonstrate rural electrification in Niger Delta Within a space of four months we will have finished installing all the solar panels in those places. It is a pilot scheme. We have 7.5 MW capacity and this is a small job to demonstrate.
“We are using this plant to demonstrate that the solar panel manufacturing business is real and possible in Nigeria. We hope government will now put any money in this plant and increase its capacity. We also hope that the private sector will help in developing the plant. We are also advising states to setup their solar project because NASENI can do a business plan for them to produce locally.
He said the agency was proposing the establishment of a slar panel production plant in each geo-political zone capable producing 25MWs worth of solar panels yearly. This, according to NASENI, would be established on a public-private sector partnership system (PPP) with federal and state governments providing catalytic support.
Adewoye described lack of access to modern energy services asm a major obstacle for people to move away from poverty and upgrade their quality of life.
According to him, “Energy is central to sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts. It affects all aspects of development. None of the Millennium Development Goals can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services in developing countries.”
He went on: “NASENI has successfully established a 7.5MW solar panel manufacturing plant in Karshi, FCT-Abuja with a production-line to facilitate a smooth roll-out of solar panels. The facility is one of only three available in Africa with the others located in South Africa and Senegal mainly for export.
“The Karshi Solar Panel Plant is stocked with over 1000 solar plants of various ratings in addition to semi-knocked down components and large stock of raw materials to roll out more solar panels of various specifications. The plant is supported by a quality control room equipped with sun stimulator to determine the specific ratings of all the panels produced.”
He stressed that NASENI’s intervention in the energy involves the establishment of a solar panel plant at Karshi, design and production of small hydro power turbines, pole mounted transformers, and wind turbines blades.
On the progress of work on the Karshi plant, Adewoye stressed: “The plant with a capacity of 7.5MW is established through a joint venture project with a foreign partner. The required facilities for this project have been installed. The federal government of Nigeria through NASENI funded the purchase of the manufacturing equipment, provision of the basic infrastructural needs and installation and commissioning of the equipment.
“The Solar Panel Manufacturing Company is being incorporated as part of NASENI Renewable Energy Engineering Infrastructure Company Limited (NAREEICO) with a view to transferring a major part of its shareholders to the public.
“There is no doubt that a potentially large market exists for solar photovoltaic in Nigeria as well as within the West African sub-region and Africa.”