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Friday, 24 March 2023 20:03

Osinbajo Lays Foundation Of First Solar Cell Production Plant In West Africa

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday laid the foundation for the establishment of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Solar Cells Production Plant in Gora, Nasarawa State.

Osinbajo stated that “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 building on 10 years of work. 10years ago, NASENI established its 7.5mw solar panel production plant. Its capacity is now 21MW.”

Highlighting the importance of Solar cells to the entire solar energy value chain, the Vice President observed that “NASENI’s solar cell production factory in Nigeria will be a game-changer, given the urgency of climate action today and the importance of developing African green energy manufacturing and solutions.”

The VP, who linked the historic development with the Federal Government’s proactive steps in ensuring adequate funding for NASENI, stated that this is a new dispensation for the government agency.

With one per cent allocation from the federation account annually as prescribed by its founding law, Prof. Osinbajo was of the view that NASENI has been given the financial backing 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.”

He added that, “for over 10 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.

Pointing out that $50 billion worth of diesel fuel is used yearly, with diesel generators producing more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Prof. Osinbajo observed that “the resultant emissions of carbon monoxide has 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.

Speaking earlier, Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof Mohammad Sani Haruna, said the foundation laying ceremony marked the commencement of implementation of one of the three projects contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NASENI and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).

He said this singular project had the capacity to positively change the energy status of Nigeria, the region, and the continent of Africa, since it is the first of its type.

Prof Haruna said: “This production and research plant consists of four main production sections on a 15.8 hectres of land which are: polysilicon section of 1,000 ton per annum, ingot of 50MW per annum, wafers of 50MW per annum, and solar cells of 50MW per annum

“It will cost a total of $171,970,000USD with 85% funding equivalent of $146,174,500USD support from China Africa Development (CAD) fund through the Bank of China and 15% local counterpart funding, equivalent of $25,795,500USD from Nigeria. The other two projects are Electric Power Transformer Production Plant at $123,990,000USD and High Voltage Testing Laboratory at $29,900,690USD.

“The total cost approved for the three projects is $325,860,690 and a total of $276,981,586.5 representing 85% is from China. The 15% counterpart for the three projects is $48,879,103.5 and NASENI has installmentally remitted up to 46.89% or $22,921,505.40 of the 15 percent ($48,879,103.5). Excess capacity of polysilicon and future expansion of wafers and solar cells production will lead to exportation for foreign exchange earnings.”

He said NASENI under the chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari was “quite uncomfortable” with status of energy supply in Nigeria and had embarked on the use of science, technology, innovation, and engineering to advance local content interventions in power sector reforms.

The representative of CGWIC, Mr Hu Shinkai, said the project would make solar energy available and affordable in Nigeria.

There were also goodwill messages from Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State and the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad.

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