Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The Federal Government on Tuesday endorsed the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) to achieve its lofty dreams of providing electricity to over 30 million Nigerians that are still without power.
The endorsement by Prof. Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, were the odds that favoured NASENI ahead of its foreign counterparts to partner the Federal Ministry of Power in its quest to provide electricity to over 100 communities across the nation through its Operation Light-up Rural Nigeria (OLRN).
Nebo made the revelation when he paid a courtesy visit to the NASENI Solar Energy Limited (solar panel manufacturing plant) at Karshi in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and its Small Hydro Installation at Gada, Akwanga in Nasarawa State.
Satisfied with the quality of equipment on ground, Nebo expressed optimism that the 10 percent target set for year 2020 would be achieved.
The current capacity of the plant, which was established in September 2011, is 7.5 megawatts per year, and this can only take care of a few communities.
Nebo, however, hinted that NASENI’s diligent methodology of quality control is why the ministry has opted to partner with the agency.
“I would rather patronise them (NASENI) than patronise foreign companies; I would rather create more jobs in Nigeria by utilising what they are doing. NASENI, as we have seen has very diligent methodology of quality control of making sure that whatever they send out there is exactly what it is at the minimum. If it is 185w, they will write 180w. So, you are actually getting it better than what you see on the solar panel label, and that is the way it should be. That is why the Ministry of Power would like to collaborate with NASENI in the deployment of solar power technology in the country,” Nebo explained.
Nebo also thinks NASENI has good prospects to meet the renewable needs of the country, despite its present capacity.
“It has excellent prospects, but it needs to be encouraged. 7.5mw can only take care of few communities. Many communities will need as much as 500kw. So, you are thinking of only 15 communities, and there are local governments in Nigeria that have more than 15 communities. What NASENI is producing now is not enough, but I believe that when we begin to patronise them, and everybody else sees the need to patronise them, then they will grow their capacity to manufacture, and like we were told, they could move to 25mw and even replicate this round the country, which will help to push solar all over Nigeria, which I believe is one way we will have quick wind of power deployed across the country,” he added.
Recall that Mohammed Sani Haruna, executive vice chairman, NASENI, had revealed that the solar plant needs the sum of $96 million to double its present capacity.
Speaking during the inspection, Haruna said: “The production is still an assembly plant, and we have a target and a programme approved by the President to work with the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) to start manufacturing the solar cells here, using the raw materials in abundance in Nigeria. This will enable the expansion of this plant from 7.5mw, first to 25mw and allow its duplication in anywhere in Nigeria, and then to serve as a backup for any private industry that would want to establish similar industry.”
Haruna also hinted on the challenges of the agency.
“The situation of business is that we are competing with inferior products in the market. Much of the products in the market are inferior, and there are a lot of untrained technicians in the system, who have knowledge of only how to do wiring of electrical installation, and they thought that, if they could wire a point of light, they could also supply solar. So, there is a lot of dissatisfaction in solar installation, and that is why the professionals are now getting involved, which is also why the Honourable Minister of Power is here to see things for himself,” he said.
NASENI has produced a total of 5,124 pieces of solar panels of different ratings in its three years of existence.
It currently has the following stocks available for the market: 206 pieces of 200 PV module rated power, with 41,200 watts capacity; 2,718 pieces of 190 PV module rated power, with 516,420 watts capacity; 1,828 pieces of 180 PV module rated power, with 329,040 watts capacity; 200 pieces of 175 PV module rated power, with 35,000 watts capacity; and 172 pieces of 170 PV module rated power, with 29,240 watts capacity.
“We are equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities that meet up to international standards. Hence, our solar PV modules are competitively efficient. Our panels are built, using only the highest quality components to ensure the best possible performance,” he added.