Solar power energy is now making waves in the northern part of Nigeria as Federal Government is set to build five solar power plants worth N183bn ($600m) in some North-Eastern states.
According to the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council each of the solar power plants will have capacity to generate 100 megawatts of electricity.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a meeting between the council and the consortium in Abuja on Tuesday, the Head, Overseas Operations, NIPC, Mr. Abubakar Yerima, stated that the decision to build the power plants in the North was reached after several meetings with the investors.
He said, “After several meetings and agreements, we had a MoU signed in the United Kingdom, which led to the event of today. The LTI Re Energy is part of the investment and this company (LTI) is one of the largest power firms in Europe, it is a German company.
this solar power project is going to start in Adamawa State, because the radiation there is one of the highest in the country. They will set up their solar farm and beside this farm, LTI will set its production line, making it a complete value chain. In each of the places that they are setting up their plants, they will generate 100MW.
“They will start with five locations and then expand; so, we are looking at 500MW for a start. As soon as they get the licences, they will start setting up their plants and the NIPC has met the necessary agencies in the power sector with respect to this. We are now in the final stages of the Power Purchase Agreement being approved.”
On the cost of the projects, Yerima stated, “It is about $600m investment and it is completely a private sector driven initiative. All the investments are coming from the private sector. Where the Federal Government comes in has to do with the licences and permits as well as all other forms of facilitation needed for a smooth process.
“The initiative is driven by a consortium of companies. So generally, the investments will be in the states in the North-East as well as some in the North-West, because of the solar radiation in these regions.”
Yerima stated that the move was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of bringing in enough power into the Nigerian economy, as well as the new global concept of promoting renewable energy to cut down on carbon emissions.
On the security situation in the region, he stated that it would not deter determined investors, stressing that despite the tense security concern in Afghanistan, some investors still invested in the troubled country.
“However, the Boko Haram issue has been well taken care of presently,” he added.
Also commenting on the plans to invest in the North and when the projects will be completed, the Chief Sales Officer, LTI Re Energy, Mr. Chris Voet, said the first 100MW plant should be ready by March 2017.
“We are starting now and we will be concluding the first 100MW in the first quarter of 2017 and the subsequent one should come up in the second quarter or thereabout, for it takes us three to six months to set up the assembly plant,” he explained. -thisday