A First For Nigeria: Solar Farm Planned In The North

A First For Nigeria: Solar Farm Planned In The North

Nigeria’s first solar farm — potentially the largest on the continent outside South Africa — is planned thanks to a $100-million joint development agreement between Access Infra Africa and Nigerian Quaint Global Energy Solutions, Reuters reports.

The planned 50-megawatt ABIBA solar power plant in northern Kaduna state is expected to provide electricity for more than 600,000 homes in Northern Nigeria, the partners said.

It will be built in the next two years once the partners secure financing from banks, Reuters reported.

Dubai-based Access Infra Africa is a renewable power developer that does business in 17 African countries. It will contribute most of the 30-percent equity put down for the $100 million project.

Quaint Global Energy received a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency for ABIBA.

Nigerians endure chronic power shortages and blackouts. Businesses rely on expensive diesel generators. The grid is dilapidated and new companies are still struggling to be profitable since the 2012 privatization of the sector, according to Reuters.

Power output has improved since President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated at the end of May from 3,000 megawatts under the former administration to about 4,000 megawatts per day the last few weeks, according to transmission data. This is still far less than the country needs.

“We are hoping we can get up to 5,000 megawatts by the first quarter of next year,” Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told the Nigeria High Commission in London Oct. 22, the DailyTimes reported. He was in London to sign an agreement with the U.K. government to develop solar power in Nigeria.

“All the same, 5,000 megawatts of power for Nigeria is completely ridiculous but we cannot move faster than we are moving, so we have to go off the grid and look for other ways to generate and supply electricity,’’ Osinbajo said.

Nigeria needs 200,000 megawatts to meet electricity demand, the DailyIndependent reported in 2013.