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Green Energy: Nigeria’s first solar cell production factory in W’Africa a game-changer –Osinbajo

Workers Installing Solar Panels on Building in Nigeria

*Nigerian Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo notes the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure has the financial backing to ‘execute its mandate of delivering technological and innovative interventions across critical sectors of the economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In an effort at promoting the use of solar power as part of climate-smart alternative energy sources in the West African country, Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo Friday, March 24, 2023, laid the foundation for the establishment of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Solar Cells Production Plant in Gora, Nasarawa State.

ConsumerConnect learnt Prof. Osinbajo, on the occasion, declared that “this landmark achievement places Nigeria within the ranks of countries pushing the boundaries in the use of climate-smart alternative energy sources, particularly solar power. “And as we have heard, this particular project is building on 10 years of work.”

The Nigerian Vice-President recalled that 10 years ago, NASENI had established its 7.5 Megawatts (MW) solar panel production plant, but Its capacity is now 21MW.

Benefits of solar cell factory project to Nigeria, consumers

Explaining the importance of solar cells project to the entire solar energy value chain in the economy, Osinbajo noted the “NASENI’s solar cell production factory in Nigeria will be a game-changer.”

This development he attributed to the urgency of climate action in today’s world, and the significance of “developing African green energy manufacturing and solutions.”

According to Osibanjo,  the historic development with the Federal Government’s proactive steps in ensuring adequate funding for NASENI is a new dispensation for the government agency in Nigeria.

The Vice-President also disclosed with one percent allocation from the Federation Account annually as prescribed in the relevant legislation,   NASENI has been given the financial backing to “execute its mandate of delivering technological and innovative interventions across critical sectors of the economy.

Such sectors include Agriculture, Health, Defence and Security, Power and Energy, Financial Services, Solid Minerals, Additive Manufacturing, Smart Fabrications, Factories, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Virtual Manufacturing,   said he.

He further said: “For over 10 years, NASENI has been consistent in championing solar power as an alternative to hydro and fossil power sourcing. “And it was to this end that the agency established NASENI Solar Energy Limited (NSEL) in Karshi, Federal Capital Territory, with a mandate to deliver alternative solar energy to homes and businesses in Nigeria.

Energy project to reduce costs of diesel, emissions

The Vice-President also noted that $50 billion worth of diesel fuel is used yearly, with diesel generators producing more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Osinbajo, however, said that “the resultant emissions of carbon monoxide has since become a major and worrying source of pollution.

He stated that in Nigeria, for example, generator emissions are equivalent to emissions from all of the country’s 11 million cars put together.

Earlier in his address at the event, Prof. Mohammad Sani Haruna, Executive Vice-Chairman of NASENI, had said the foundation laying ceremony marked the commencement of implementation of one of the three projects contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NASENI and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).

Prof. Haruna projected the solar cell production project has the capacity to positively change the energy status of Nigeria, the West African sub-region, and the Africa continent since it is the first of its type.

“This production and research plant consists of four main production sections on a 15.8 hectres of land which are: polysilicon section of 1,000 ton per annum, ingot of 50MW per annum, wafers of 50MW per annum, and solar cells of 50MW per annum

“It will cost a total of $171,970,000USD with 85% funding equivalent of $146,174,500USD support from China Africa Development (CAD) fund through the Bank of China and 15% local counterpart funding, equivalent of $25,795,500USD from Nigeria, stated he.

According to NASENI Chief, the two other projects contained in the MoU are Electric Power Transformer Production Plant at $123,990,000USD and High Voltage Testing Laboratory at $29,900,690USD.

Haruna further disclosed that “the total cost approved for the three projects is $325,860,690 and a total of $276,981,586.5 representing 85% is from China.

“The 15% counterpart for the three projects is $48,879,103.5 and NASENI has installmentally remitted up to 46.89% or $22,921,505.40 of the 15 percent ($48,879,103.5).”

He added that “excess capacity of polysilicon and future expansion of wafers and solar cells production will lead to exportation for foreign exchange earnings” for Nigeria.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of NASENI as well noted that the present administration is “quite uncomfortable” with status of energy supply in Nigeria, and has embarked on the use of science, technology, innovation, and engineering to advance local content interventions in power sector reforms.

Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Hu Shinkai, representative of CGWIC, said the project would make solar energy available and affordable in  the country.

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