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FG, firms sign €9.3m agreement for solar mini-grids

Solar farm

The Federal Government has signed an Interconnected Mini-grid Acceleration Scheme (IMAS) award grant agreement with eight indigenous solar developers for the development of 23 mini-grids across 11 states of the federation.

The mini-grids are expected to generate a 5.4-kilowatt peak to connect about 27,600 households, and impact over 138,000 Nigerians in two years.

The €9.3 million project is being coordinated by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), with support from the European Union and the German Government through the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP).

Speaking at the grant award signing ceremony, on Thursday, the Minister of State, Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, said the project is geared towards achieving Nigeria’s vision of generating at least 30,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030.

The minister commended the management of REA for its efforts and action towards ensuring power reaches the off-grid communities in the country.

He said: “According to the developed National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy, the Vision 30:30:30 aims at achieving 30,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2030, with renewable energy contributing 30% of the energy mix. To achieve this, Nigeria will have to construct over a thousand mini-grids of 100 kilowatts.”

Admitting that government cannot achieve the target alone, Jedy-Agba canvassed creative and innovative ways to achieve this, including collaborating with development partners and the private sector.

He said: “We understand that one of the major bottlenecks for the private sector’s involvement is financing, hence, the reason the NESP and REA have worked closely to develop and implement the Interconnected Mini-grid Acceleration Scheme.

“The eight local solar mini-grid developers, Acob Lighting Technology Limited, Gve Projects, Nayo Tropical Technology Limited, Rubitec Nigeria Limited, Darway Coast Nigeria Limited, and Havenhill Synergy Limited. Also, Sosa-Protergia Joint Development Company Limited, and A4&T Power Solutions Limited will receive in-kind grants through REA with support of the European Union and the German Government within the framework of the NESP.

“These eight solar mini-grid developers will develop 23 mini-grids across eleven states which include, Zamfara, Niger, Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, Delta, Anambra, and Cross River, the indigenous developers.”

We understand that one of the major bottlenecks for the private sector’s involvement is financing, hence, the reason the NESP and REA have worked closely to develop and implement the Interconnected Mini-grid Acceleration Scheme.

Funding gap

Earlier, the Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, said the scheme is aimed at bridging the funding gap, which is affecting indigenous developers in the renewable energy sector.

Ahmad said: “It is our hope that the signatures we put down today in these documents set a precedent for the new and improved power and energy sector in Nigeria. As an agency, we encourage investors to explore the solar mini-grid sector. However, one major constraint to this is usually financing.

“This is why the Rural Electrification Agency, with the support of NESP, is working together to alleviate this bottleneck. We do this by providing in-kind grants to selected mini-grid developers on favourable and encouraging terms as contained in the Grant Agreement.

“The main objective of the intervention is to design and test a tender model for interconnected solar mini-grids, invariably leading to the foundation of the Scheme.

“The wonderful thing about the iMAS project is that we have ensured that all the developers are Nigerians. This is to say that the Nigerian energy sector has come a long way from what it used to be and we are proud of this.”

Head of programme, NESP, Benjamin Duke, on his part, assured that his team will continue to work to build investors’ confidence in the sector by developing an accurate electricity market intelligence that will provide investors with accurate data about the country’s electricity needs.

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