BusinessDay

Husk Power Systems to deploy 500 mini-grids in Nigeria

Husk Power Systems, a clean energy company that has been at the forefront of fueling rural electrification since 2008, is planning to launch 500 solar mini-grids in Nigeria over the next five years.

Manoj Sinha, CEO and co-founder, Husk said the company is committed to powering households, adding that the focus is first and foremost on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and public institutions like health clinics and schools.

According to him, MSMEs are the engine of economies in Africa, and powering existing small businesses and encouraging the formation of new MSMEs helps create the type of economic growth and social benefit that carries over to households by creating more opportunity and more jobs.

Speaking on why the company is exploring growth opportunities in the western, southern and eastern regions of Africa, prioritising a country like Nigeria, he explained that the country has a supportive regulatory environment that allows mini-grid operators free of permit requirements for either standalone off-grid mini-grids or interconnected mini-grids.

The renewable energy firm revealed the current plan is part of a commitment is contained under the 24/7 Carbon-free Energy Compact, by leading energy buyers, suppliers, equipment manufacturers and governments, representing a global effort to accelerate the uptake of carbon-free electricity as a way of averting the perilous effects of climate change.

Read also: Rising oil prices could impact Nigeria’s revenue negatively – World Bank

According to Kanika Chawla, UN-Energy and SEforALL programme manager, “the company welcomes the Energy Compact commitments made by Husk Power and appreciate their leadership.”

He noted that the development showcases the business opportunity presented by the global energy transition, and how private enterprises can drive accelerated action on ending energy poverty, expand renewable energy solutions for consumptive and productive load, and improve the adoption of energy efficiency solutions by end consumers.”

Husk is one of the companies participating in the Nigeria Electrification Project, which provides performance-based grants, a sort of capital subsidy, to mini-grid developers — part of the national effort to solve the country’s chronic power supply issues.

The startup, currently with operations in Nigeria, Tanzania and India (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar), has set an ambitious goal of installing at least 5,000 mini-grids by 2030 and in the process make 1 million connections — half of which will be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

The World Bank states that up to $200 billion in investments is required to develop over 200,000 mini-grids to address energy poverty to over 500 million people. Today, only 19,000 mini-grids are in operation globally owing to the $5 billion in investment the sector has attracted.

Other organisations that have pledged to the Energy Compact include IRENA, GWEC, the World Bank and the International Energy Agency.

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