BLOOMBERG - Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil exporter, may be about to turn sunward to generate more of its power.
Senators in the capital of Abuja are debating allocation of $30 million to solar projects in this year’s budget, according to the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria. They’re expected to provide funding for off-grid solar projects, photovoltaic manufacturing, and transmission upgrades, according to REAN Executive Secretary Godwin Aigbokhan. A decision is expected this month.
"It just gives you an idea of how the government sees solar as part of the total energy mix," Aigbokhan said in a telephone interview from Lagos. The country could receive about $2.5 billion of investments in utility-scale solar projects by 2018, he said.
Just months after Nigeria announced plans to issue green bonds for renewable-energy projects, West Africa’s biggest economy is debating how it could deliver clean power to more of its 180 million citizens. It’s part of a growing list of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, that are increasing the use of green power.
Nigerian officials say they want to generate as much as 1,200 megawatts of off-grid solar. The country’s households and small businesses currently spend about $21.8 billion each year powering diesel generators to generate electricity, according to a study by German development agency GIZ.
"The ubiquity of small diesel generators used to bridge gaps in grid-supplied power already makes solar panels that cut fuel costs an economic option," said Itamar Orlandi, head of frontier power research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.