Nigeria can’t afford solar power – Fashola

*Solar power farm.

*Solar power farm.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

23 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has stated that government cannot afford to fund wide-scale energy produced by solar power.

Fashola explained that it would cost the government an estimated N3 billion ($150 million) if it were to consider funding solar power projects and their consumption in the country.

The minister said this in Abuja when he was addressed by a group of 14 solar power promoters in an efforts to clear existing challenges to investment in the use of solar power in the country.

He said, “Solar is one of the options for incremental power in line with our road map for the sector from incremental, to steady, to uninterrupted power. So we are looking at every place we can to get energy.

“People have often said why can’t they have solar power, the reason is that solar power also comes at a cost. At today’s market prices in Nigeria, it is a little more expensive than gas power.”

Fashola stated that government appreciates the challenges faced by solar power promoters, however, it was not considering to pay out the mentioned amount on a monthly basis for consumption of power generated from their solar plants.

The minister instead recommended that the solar promoters should consider securing bulk electricity consumers whom they can sell their outputs to at prices that would guarantee them their bottom lines.

Fashola also noted the positives about solar power prices in comparison to other tariffs of various energy resources.

He said, “The good thing about solar is that the price seldom never goes up, it stays fixed or comes down but the entry market price now is 17 cents per kWh and if multiplied at N200, it is about N34 which is much more expensive than the current gas tariffs.

“So, we are trying to bring that down and the operators have a lot of enthusiasm of trying to see to see how they can review some of the prices. They are trying to see if there will be off-takers who would take at the price.

“They are also suggesting to us that as government maybe we can intervene by taking off VAT, import duty charges and give them a waiver on the components that they import. They are also asking for possible access to some central bank financed loans that reduce the cost of money.”

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