• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Coronavirus takes toll on growing renewable sector

How big data can jump-start Nigeria’s energy sector

The solar energy is the latest sector to take a hit from the deadly coronavirus pandemic which is undoubtedly taking a toll on various industries.

The UK’s Renewable Energy Hub has cautioned that the continued spread of the virus will slow down the global deployment of renewables.

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm, has already downgraded its outlook for solar and wind installations in China this year. Analysts are forecasting a maximum of 43 gigawatts of solar installations this year from 45 gigawatts before.

Their most pessimistic forecast is for 31 gigawatts compared with at least 37 gigawatts estimated previously. Last year China was responsible for adding 30 gigawatts according to the industry association.

Bloomberg’s report predicts that as policymakers and businesses focus on short-term stimulus packages to help the economy, energy infrastructure investments and planning will temporarily go by the wayside.

According to the Bloomberg analysis, the effect of coronavirus will slow battery demand and result in lower-than-expected returns on investments in wind.

China, the largest solar panel manufacturer on the planet accounting  for 70percent  of the global market mandated factories and companies including solar companies to completely shut down weeks ago, previous excess production took care of shortfalls in the market, however, continuous shutdown of companies has caused a more damaging effect.

Also, overseas solar manufacturing have also been affected by raw material shortages, many solar manufacturing plants outside of China rely on Chinese imports for raw materials like aluminium framing and PV glass.

“Yes, there is already a lot of panic in the industry, but nobody has seen any direct effects just yet,” James Warburton of Solar Wholesalers, a top solar installer in South Australia told Solarreview.com

Solar panel prices, production, and supply are likely to continue to be in a state of turmoil in the thick of the coronavirus outbreak.

Solar is not the only renewable energy sector to be affected by the coronavirus. Last month, Wood Mackenzie said the outbreak could have a significant impact on the wind energy industry in China.

China is a wind energy powerhouse, but the virus has impacted wind turbine component production, according to the research and consultancy firm.

The events in the global solar industry is not immune to Nigeria’s growing solar sector.

The effect of coronavirus on solar industry reechoes  the event of 2018, when the Nigerian government introduced duty tariff on solar panels. While the new duty regime has had some negative effects on them, founders and their businesses have quickly adjusted to it and remained sturdy despite it.

By 2020, Nigeria wants to have plans laid for more solar mini-grids that would eventually reach more than 100,000 people.

Solar mini-grids are not a new concept worldwide, but they are an increasingly popular way to provide low-cost reliable electricity to rural areas. In Nigeria, they have the potential to give 26 million residents access to electricity, according to GIZ, the German aid agency that supports the initiative.