Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian outgoing Vice President, on Friday, laid the foundation of the first Solar cell factory in West Africa, being constructed by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in Gora, Nasarawa State.
According to him, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) made a pioneering stride as the agency launched the first solar cell production factory in West Africa in Gora, Nasarawa State.
He said, “The Chairman of the NASENI Governing Board, President Muhammadu Buhari sends his warm congratulations.
“This landmark achievement places Nigeria within the ranks of countries pushing the boundaries in the use of climate-smart alternative energy sources, particularly solar power. And as we have heard, this particular project is built on 10 years of work.
10 years ago, NASENI established its 7.5mw solar panel production plant and the capacity is now 21mw.
“For those watching NASENI closely, I am sure you will find the connection between this historic development and the Federal government’s proactive steps to ensure that NASENI gets the 1% of the Federation Account annually as prescribed by its founding law.
“It is evident that this collaboration and active work of President Buhari has heralded a new dispensation for NASENI, one that has given it the financial wherewithal to execute its mandate of delivering technological and innovative interventions across critical sectors of the economy, including Agriculture, Health, Defence and Security, Power and Energy, Financial Services, Solid Minerals, Additive Manufacturing, Smart Fabrications, Factories, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Virtual Manufacturing.
“For over ten years, NASENI has been consistent in championing solar power as an alternative to hydro and fossil power sourcing. And it was to this end that the agency established NASENI Solar Energy Limited (NSEL) in Karshi, Federal Capital Territory, with a mandate to deliver alternative solar energy to homes and businesses in Nigeria.
“The development and maturity of NASENI Solar Energy Limited whose operations have been driven with the vim and zest of a tech start-up, forecasted an increase in local content of the solar energy production system in Nigeria, leading to ever-increasing production of solar cells.
“Solar cells are critical to the entire solar energy value chain because they determine the sensitivity of solar panels to trap and accumulate solar energy from the sun.
“But perhaps more importantly, given the urgency of climate action today and the importance of developing African Green Energy manufacturing and solutions, NASENI’s solar cell production factory in Nigeria will be a game-changer.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, $50 billion worth of diesel fuel is used each year, with diesel generators producing more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in the region.
“The resultant emissions of carbon monoxide have since become a major and worrying source of pollution. In Nigeria, for example, generator emissions are equivalent to emissions from all of the country’s 11 million cars put together. This is clearly unsustainable and calls for a significant shift.
“Our Energy Transition Plan, the first of its kind in Africa, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council last year, sets out our pathway to decarbonisation by 2060 and achieving universal energy access by 2030.
“The Nigeria Energy Transition Plan projects an increase in the use of solar power in the Nigerian energy mix, surpassing even gas by 2035.
“This factory could not have come at a more crucial time. Not only is the beneficiation model it has adopted innovative and consistent with the African Union’s energy transition plan in the face of global warming, its output, at full operational capacity, will further impact the solar energy value chain in Nigeria through the low production costs of solar panels.
“In due course, this will in turn attract new investment, local and foreign, for the establishment of solar panel manufacturing plants across Nigeria.
“The prudent decision to site the factory in Gora, Nasarawa State, leverages translational research into the biogeography, geological surveys, and mining cadastral reconnaissance that has positioned Nasarawa as the home of solid minerals in Nigeria,” Osinbajo said.
The outgoing Vice President however noted that the major raw material requirements for the production of Solar cells – silicon and silica – are naturally occurring in abundance in this area.
He commended the people of Nasarawa for hosting the project and congratulated them in advance for the positive boost it is certain to bring to the local economy.
Dr. Mahmud Jaffar, Managing Director, NASENI Solar Energy Ltd, earlier in his comment noted that the prices of solar panels in Nigeria will crash once the NASENI plant comes on stream. He added that Nigeria will go into full production of 100% local content in the manufacturing of solar panels and other electronic materials.
Prof. Mohammed Haruna, Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive NASENI, on his part said that the plant came based on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, who directed NASENI to go into full production of solar locally in order to fill the gaps in electricity supplies in the country.
He said, “With the establishment of the Plant, Nigeria will now have a complete solar energy production plant. With an already existing NASENI 7.5-megawatts Solar Panel Production Plant in Karshi, Abuja, Nigeria will be producing 100% local content solar panels that will be an alternative source of power generation to ease the burden on the national grid.”
Prof. Mohammed Haruna noted that the Vice President had always supported the agency to carry out its mandate, especially in the areas of securing NASENI’s funding and granting autonomy, technological advancement, and the production of home-grown products.
“NASENI is already working in collaborating with China Great Wall Industries Corporation (CGWIC) on 3 key projects in the power sector: Electric Power Transformer Production, Solar Cells Manufacturing, and High Voltage Testing Laboratories.
“In order to carry out this directive, NASENI acquired 15.8 hectares of land in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State to start the establishment of the plant in Nigeria and the groundbreaking and foundation laying stone will be carried out for effective take-off of the plant,” the NASENI boss said.