Solar energy key to democratising access to power in Nigeria – El-Rufai

*Mallam Nasir El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state.

*Mallam Nasir El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi,
with agency reports

25 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has said that the application of solar technology in the provision of electricity in Nigeria would democratise power access to the rural poor.

Reacting to the solar power agreement signed between Nigeria and the United Kingdom in London on Thursday, El-Rufaí noted that the agreement was an opportunity for the country to acquire the latest technology in the sector.

The governor had accompanied the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to the agreement signing ceremony at the Facebook headquarters in London.

According to him, “This is a great opportunity for Nigeria to leapfrog from where we are to the latest state-of-the-art technology to provide electricity to the poor.

“Many people think that the only way to get electricity to everyone is through building huge power stations with transmission lines and distribution infrastructure.

“But in the last three to four years there has been advancement in solar technology that has made it possible to democratise electricity in a way that you would have your own power plant in your own home to serve your needs instead of connecting to a centralised network.’’

The governor noted that the initiative, to be supported by the British government, would take electricity to the poorest parts of Nigeria without necessarily building transmission and distribution lines.

“I think it is a great step just as we leapfrogged from having half a million land lines to 150 million mobile phones.

“There is an opportunity here to leapfrog from having centralised power stations and transmission lines to 60 million Nigerians having electricity that they generate from solar in their own homes and paying for it on a pay-as-you-go basis.

“It is a great initiative and if we are able to follow it through we will be able to take electricity to the poorest parts of Nigeria without having to do huge investments that we have sank in NEPA and PHCN without results,’’ the governor added

According to him, the gains will be seen almost immediately, adding that “in Kaduna we are already funding the use of solar power in 40 primary healthcare centres.

“What we want to do when we go back to Kaduna state is to send a team to Tanzania and Kenya to see where this model has worked and immediately begin to deploy it because it is low cost, it can be done very quickly, you don’t need to spend three years building a power station.

“You can essentially assemble and install a prototype in everybody’s home and they will have enough electricity to give them light to run their radios and TVs and maybe one or two fridges and air conditioners.

“This is something in Kaduna we will like to do very quickly; we want to start deploying it very early in the New Year.’’

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