Nigerian Government Backs Local Solar Panel Production

Nigeria’s Federal Government is supporting the country’s local production of solar panels.
Published: Mon 19 May 2014

The Federal Government has announced its support for the country’s National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in the production of solar panels for renewable energy.

This partnering forms part of the Nigerian government’s effort to ensure local content development in the power sector and the creation of jobs.

Solar provides electricity access to everyone

The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo made the announcement during his inspection of the National Agency for Science Engineering Infrastructure solar panel manufacturing plant in Karshi, Abuja.

The country is experiencing an extremely low level of electricity generation which is mainly through gas fired turbines. In a bid to increase generation levels, the Federal Government is focusing on solar power development.

Rural communities have very little or no access to grid electricity. With the low level of electricity generation and transmission in the country, the only way these communities can be reached is through renewable technology. Says Professor Nebo, “Solar is the only thing you can deploy to every part of Nigeria and get electricity.”

With the launch of Operation Light-Up Rural Nigeria (OLRN), Professor Nebo says it has become clear that Nigerian solar manufacturing plants need the government’s support. He adds that the government will patronise renewable products from the agency. This support aims to encourage mass production and sales of the solar panels across Nigeria.

Professor Nebo points to the need for skills development in the field, including technology development and deployment. He adds that the Agency needs to improve on its marketing and comply with international standards.

Developing local content

The government intends to promote the Agency by advising investors that they are a preferred choice when it comes to solar technology. The Professor explains that once the solar panels meet international best standards, there shouldn’t be much need for outside contenders.

According to the President, this support is all in the name of local content development.

However, with the recent solar agreement with SkyPower FAS Energy , it may be a good idea to encourage foreign investors and technology manufacturers and vendors all the same since this is bound to encourage healthy competition between locals and foreign companies. In addition, new skills will be developed and employment levels will grow. It is up to the government to discuss and encourage local content development with newcomers.