BusinessDay

Nigeria’s solar mini-grid ambition sustains momentum in 2021

The Nigerian mini-grid market looks set to end by 2021 on a high not just because of the size of its growth opportunities but because of its robust regulatory environment.

Nigeria has made mini-grids a centerpiece of its electrification policy with a series of investments aimed at providing cleaner energy to thousands of Nigerian communities disconnected from the national grid.

As of 2021 dawn, the South Korean Government has announced it will invest the sum of $12.4 million for the construction of solar mini-grids in Nigeria.

According to the Ambassador of Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae the project to be implemented by Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) was designed to meet rising energy demand of rural communities, by constructing solar power generation systems, in cooperation with the Nigerian government.

“It involves construction of minigrids in non-electrified rural communities near Abuja, to ensure stable supply of power, installation of transmission and distribution lines, supply of electric equipment and systems and training for the operation and maintenance of mini-grids,” explained the ambassador.

The Project Manager Kim Dohyoung stressed that the project would boost standard solutions in the power sector. He said it would also provide environmental friendly and sustainable energy development, and help to eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

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The project manager however mentioned that the project would begin with project-designing in April 2022 and extend till December, 2024. “It will be delivered in cooperation with the relevant government agencies of Nigeria and local businesses.”

Also in December, Colorado-based Husk Power Systems announced it will inaugurate six mini-grids in Nigeria’s Nasarawa State.

The project is aimed at providing clean and reliable electricity to around 5,000 households and 500 businesses in the Doma and Lafia local government areas.

Husk in September received backing from the Nigerian Electrification Project (NEP) to install seven solar mini-grids, with the seventh expected next year. The company referred to the networks as “solar hybrid” mini-grids and has elsewhere installed photovoltaics alongside battery and biomass generation, with the latter featuring the gasification of waste rice husks which gives the company its name.

Husk stated its ambition to expand its mini grid program into several states of Nigeria by 2024, with expectations of “a fleet of more than 100 mini-grids in Nigeria within the next 24 months, growing to 500 mini-grids by 2026.”

For most stakeholders, projects like this are very important as it is virtually impossible for the national grid to cover every geographical point within Nigeria.

Nigeria, seen as the largest potential market for mini-grid in West Africa, has received at least $374 million in the past ten years from international donors for mini-grid development.a

Africa’s largest economy has a small-grid capacity of 2.8 megawatts as of 2019, with 52 of the 59 projects solar-powered, according to BloombergNEF. Only 55percent of the nation’s population is connected to the national electricity grid and those experience frequent power cuts of up to 15 hours per day.