Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has laid the foundation for the country’s first solar cells production plant in Gora, Nasarawa State.
The 21-MW capacity plant is a project of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) in collaboration with the China Great Wall Incorporated Corporation (CGWIC). The project will cost a total of US$171,970,000, with 85% funding, equivalent to US$146,174,500 support from China-Africa Development Fund through the Bank of China and 15% local counterpart funding, equivalent to US$25,795,500 from Nigeria.
In his speech during the foundation laying ceremony today (March 24, 2023), Osinbajo emphasised that the establishment of the factory is essential to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere and boost solar energy supply. He added that the plant, which is the first in Africa, will also attract new investments, both local and foreign, for the establishment of solar panel manufacturing plants across the whole of Nigeria.
Osinbajo highlighted the high rate of carbon emissions and the need for a significant shift to renewable energy sources in Nigeria. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, $50 billion worth of diesel is used every year, with diesel generators producing more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in the region. The emissions from these generators have become a major and worrying source of pollution. In Nigeria, generator emissions are equivalent to emissions from all of the country’s 11 million cars combined, which is clearly unsustainable.
The governor of Nasarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule expressed his gratitude to the vice-president for his concern towards the development of the state, country and the welfare of its people. He thanked Osinbajo for his partnership with the State in promoting agriculture and health and for commissioning their diagnostic centre in Lafia. He noted that Osinbajo’s visit to vulnerable people’s homes and giving them hope is something they will never forget.
The executive vice chairman and chief executive of NASENI, Prof. Mohammad Haruna stated that the solar cell plant of 21MW capacity is a fully-funded Federal Government of Nigeria-owned limited liability company whose products are international standard. Haruna noted that the cost of solar energy is still beyond the affordability of an average Nigerian, hence the necessity of the project.
He assured that the project, when fully commissioned, will make the price per watt of solar power supply cheap enough to be affordable to everyone and will be a game-changer in the energy and power supply industry as well as the industrial development of Nigeria.
The representative of the China Great Wall Incorporated Corporation in Nigeria, Hu Shinkai said the plant would generate a minimum of 19,800 jobs. He also stated that the plant would result in the export of solar cells to other parts of Africa, since no other solar plant exists on the continent at present.
In conclusion, the solar cells production plant is an essential step towards reducing carbon emissions in Nigeria and boosting solar energy supply. The project will not only provide job opportunities but will also attract new investments in solar panel manufacturing plants. The project’s success will be a game changer in the energy and power supply industry and industrial development of Nigeria.