• Friday, June 21, 2024
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$2.5bn solar projects to add 975mw to national grid in 18 months  


Beginning from the last quarter of 2016, solar energy projects worth $2.5 billion would be undertaken in Nigeria, expected to add 975 megawatts of electricity to the national grid when completed in the next 12 to 18 months.

In order to see these projections through, the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading plc (NBET) on Monday signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with 12 solar energy firms, 10 out of which are foreign energy companies while the remaining two are Nigerian companies.

The projects are to be sited in eight different states across the country based on their combined geographic and economic viability with respect to solar energy development and deployment to end users, Waziri Bintube, acting managing director/CEO of NBET, said.

The states selected receive high solar intensity throughout the year, and include Katsina, where three solar plants would be sited; Kaduna, where two solar plants would be constructed, and Jigawa, one plant would be located.

There will also be one solar project each in the states of Sokoto, Bauchi, Enugu, Nasarawa, and Plateau.

One of the companies, DuSable Capital, is building a solar plant of 100mw in Enugu at the cost of $150 million.

Shomik Dutta, the company’s co-founder and managing director, said the project would provide electricity to 170 thousand homes upon completion, as financial close for its takeoff was expected to be reached in Q4 2016.

Dutta also noted that commercial operations would commence at the plant one year after the financial close had been reached, since such projects were quick to build as compared with thermal, hydro or gas fired power plants.

Another company, Afrinergia Power Limited, signed a PPA with NBET for the construction of a 50mw power plant at Kokona in Nasarawa State, and is planning to evacuate energy from its facility into Abuja using the Apo-Akwanaga evacuation line.

“This project is expected to be completed within the next 12 to 18 months, and will cost $100 million to build,” Mathew Igbalajobi, the CEO of Afrinergia, said.

It would be funded by the EUROEXIM Bank in the UK, Ecobank, European Bank, AEE Power of Spain, and ABB of Italy, who will build the substations.

For Nigeria Solar Capital Partners, who are working on building a 135mw solar power station in Bauchi State worth $200 million, work will commence by Q2 2017 with a projection for completion within a span of 15 months, Joel Abrams, the company’s managing director, said.

In Katsina State, Pan Africa Solar said the PPA it signed with NBET would pave way for it to build a 75mw solar photovoltaic power project at a total cost of $146 million.

The project to be commissioned in 2017 will sell its power for a tariff of 11.5 cents per kWh and is expected to provide energy for 1.1 million Nigerians.

“Over 500 local people will be employed during the 12-month construction period, and it is estimated that more 40,000 new jobs will be created from the additional economic activity stimulated by the power plant,” Olumide Sanya, technical project manager for Pan Africa Solar, said.

According to Marcus Heal, the CEO of Pan Africa Solar, “the company is developing a 1000mw portfolio of solar projects in Nigeria and is planning on bringing more than $1 billion of investments over the next five years.”