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Nigeria’s total renewable energy capacity hits 2153MW in 2020 – IRENA

Nigeria’s renewable energy capacity rose slightly higher to 2153 MW in 2020 from 2152 MW in 2019 with solar energy rising the most and contributing 28MW to the overall capacity, according to a new report mapping solar energy capacity by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The analysis showed that wind energy accounted for the least capacity contributing only 3MW though southern Nigerian states have their mean wind profile at 10 m height in the range between 3.0 − 3.5 m/s, and some Northern states with mean wind speeds of between 4.0 − 7.5 m/s indicating that the country has good wind resources over most part of the country.

The bulk of Nigeria’s renewable energy capacity came from hydropower which accounted for 2,111 MW. Yet, Nigeria has large rivers and natural falls with rich hydropower potential prominent of which are the Niger and Benue rivers as well as Lake Chad basin. With an estimated 1,800 m3 per capita per year of renewable water resources, there are vast potential remaining untapped. The total exploitable potential of hydropower is estimated at over 14,120 MW.

According to the IRENA data, Africa accounts for 53 685MW renewable energy capacity with some of the leading countries as South Africa (9 639MW), Egypt (5,980MW), and Ethiopia (4,713MW).

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China accounted for the most renewable energy capacity in the world accounting for more than 35 percent of global capacity at 254,355MW. the country shows no sign of slowing down. It is planning the world’s largest wind and solar project, which could add 400,000MW to its clean energy capacity.

The United States also trails the country at the back, by recently surpassing 100,000MW of solar power capacity after installing another 50,000MW in the first three months of 2021. Over the last decade, annual solar growth in the United States has averaged 42 percent. Policies such as the solar investment tax credit, which provides a 26 percent tax credit on residential and commercial solar systems, have aided the industry’s growth.
Despite a 4.5 percent drop in global energy demand in 2020, renewable energy technologies made encouraging progress said the report.

The report found that while renewables growth was strong across the board, solar power led the way with 127 gig watts installed in 2020, its largest-ever annual capacity expansion.

The world is adopting renewable energy at an unprecedented rate, with solar power leading the way and the shift towards energy transition is a significant factor in the rise of renewables. However, solar energy’s growth is also due to how inexpensive it has become over time, and it is now said to be the cheapest source of new energy generation in many parts of the world.

Since 2010, the cost of solar power has dropped by 85 percent, from $0.28 to $0.04 per kWh. According to MIT researchers, economies of scale have been the single most important factor in sustaining cost reductions over the last decade. In other words, as more solar panels were installed and manufactured, production became less expensive and more efficient.

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