Despite being one of the largest oil and gas producing countries in the world, Nigeria struggles to provide constant electricity.
To change the narrative and help Nigeria quickly transition to clean energy, the Netherlands and its partners have launched a solar marketplace for ideas, innovation, finance and development in the country’s solar space.
Catalyzed by the Netherlands and partners, the solar marketplace will function as a new ecosystem bringing together supply and demand and growing the solar sector in Nigeria.
With an online and offline presence, the marketplace is designed to connect business opportunities, facilitate tailor-made networking and interface between key public and private stakeholders who have solutions on offer.
Michel Deelen, consul general, Kingdom of Netherlands in Lagos, said the beauty of the solar marketplace initiative is that it combines business and development.
“Together with key solar players, we will work to tackle market bottlenecks and promote favorable solar energy policies and regulatory frameworks that support the sector’s development.”
According to Deelen, it is the Dutch government’s policy to assist countries and their transition towards renewable energy. He noted that the transition only works with the combination of the private and public sectors.
He added that the public sector sets the rules of the game- legislation, tariffs, policies and others, while the private sector comes with the investments, financing, installation equipment and maintenance.
“We came up with the concept a year ago, whereby we link Nigerians and international players and these are Dutch companies,” he said at the official launch of the solar marketplace in Lagos.
“So many activities in Nigeria, so many finances, that let’s say did not know of each other’s existence. And some of them we were not aware of but we seem to have a link with them,” he noted.
“And we thought you know if for us it’s already difficult to link all the dots, then for private companies, financial institutions and those on the demand side of solar, it will be probably even more difficult, hence a marketplace is needed to bring everyone together.”
He stated that it is still a long way to realise the SDGs and eradicate poverty, noting that sustainable economic development and productive use of electricity are essential in that respect.
“A green investment Agenda offers new chances to have a structural economic transformation and create employment.”
Speaking also, Balarabe Abbas Lawal, Minister of Environment said the solar marketplace is more than just a business platform, noting that it is a testament to an unwavering commitment to harness the immense potential of the sun to drive progress and prosperity.
“Today, we celebrate not just the fusion of technology and commerce but the fusion of vision and determination,” Lawal who was represented by Yakubu Mohammed Baba, registrar and CEO of the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) said.
“Solar power is not merely a source of energy; it is a source of hope. It represents the dawning of a new era where our reliance on finite fossil fuels gives way to a boundless, clean, and abundant energy source.”
He explained that solar power offers the country the means to mitigate climate change, reduce its carbon footprint and ensure energy security.
In his keynote address, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos said the launch marks a pivotal moment in the shared journey towards a sustainable and brighter future for Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu who was represented by Tunbosun Alake, commissioner for innovation, science and technology said Lagos has sought to improve its energy consumption and reduce dependence on fossil fuel by developing sources of renewable energy as the economic hub of the nation.
“This renewable solar energy solution will provide our growing population with a reliable power supply, reduce carbon dioxide emission which is the primary source of pollution and for greater ease of doing business in the state.”
He said making Lagos a 21st century economy which is a key component of THEMES+ agenda, is strategically aimed at growing the critical sectors in the state which is only possible with reliable access to electricity.