The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said investors can now manufacture solar systems in the country following the recent review of the pioneer status incentive.
Fashola stated this in Lagos on Thursday at the launch of the book, entitled ‘Solar Electricity Generation for Off-grid Communities in Nigeria,’ written by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, Dr. Oladele Amoda.
He said solar power had become the new energy and the energy for tomorrow, affirming the Federal Government’s commitment to encouraging investors in the solar space.
“Today, our energy production has grown from 2,600-plus megawatts in 2015 to 7,000MW. Our wheeling capacity has increased to close to 7,000MW; what we need to do now is to knuckle down with the Discos and expand the distribution capacity. But even if we do all of that, it probably will not be enough because it just means that only the people who are connected to the grid really will benefit,” the minister said.
He, however, described grid extension as very capital intensive, saying, “And this is where solar becomes the real energy of the day to help us quickly reach those communities; those people it is much more expensive to try to connect.
“Currently, we are vulnerable because our energy mix is largely dependent on gas and hydro. About three years ago, it was essentially about 85 per cent thermal power and 15 per cent hydro. But the privatisation has led to increased capacity in some of the hydro plants, and the mix has improved somewhat in favour of hydro and we are now seeing 74 per cent to 26 per cent mix.”
Fashola said the Nigerian government had revised its pioneer status’ criteria for eligibility to include solar home systems, batteries and other things necessary for delivering solar panels and systems.