By Aningo Genevieve Ezinne
US backed Solar project gives reliable power supply to 261,938 Nigerian homes, Naija247news has learned.
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development), Power Africa and implemented by Winrock have provided clean and reliable power supply to 261,938 Nigerians who embraced renewable energy source over the traditional grid system. This milestone was stated during the official sign off of REEP four-year tenure (2014-2018) in Nigeria to acculturate the acceptance and promotion of renewable energy as an alternative to power supply over the traditional grid system.
In enumerating part of its achievement in renewable energy, the Chief of Party, Javier Betancourt of Winrock revealed that “REEEP has enabled over 16,000 connections for 2.15 megawatts of power either through off-or on-grid sources’’. These significant inputs saved 85,000GJ energy and reduced 4.5 million metric tons of C02 from polluting the atmosphere. A sum of S 2.1 million was used in financing these projects from domestic and international sources.
According to the Chief of party Javier Betancourt; “these past four years have been challenging, yet transformative time. We have witnessed a foreign exchange crisis that severely restricted financing for RE/EE projects. Despite this, we saw Nigerian companies making movement on ambitious new projects, such as Africa’s largest (potentially) solar irrigated farm. Additionally, in partnership with GIZ NESP, six off-grid mini grades were commissioned. These mini grids will play a pivotal role in electrifying rural areas of Nigeria and demonstrating such projects bankability”.
Also, the initiative increased access to finance and developments, technical assistance to financial institutions and training standards promotion. Notwithstanding these achievements, renewable energy supply is still crippled with the challenges of access to markets, access to finance, government regulations and technical capacity in Nigeria. Betancourt explained that reliable energy lacks awareness in the country and Nigerians have a bad perception of renewable energy to be unreliable and poor quality. He suggests that only those who are adequately trained in installing renewable energy equipments should only handle the job.
The Director, Office of Economic Growth and Environment, USAID, Rosseann Casey beckons on the Nigerian government to yield funds for the renewable energy, enshrine renewable regulations and policies and reduce import taxes on imported Renewable equipments. As the equipments used in installing renewable energy are foreign products imported into the country.
Mr. John Bray, Consul General Consulate General of the United States of America identified that Nigeria as a sub-Saharan country was selected for this four-year renewable energy projects. He admitted that the country has the youthful population, high quality energy developer and seasoned financial institutions to grow renewable energy. Mr. Bray affirms that renewable energy is the fastest way to deliver power to household and businesses in Nigeria.