Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has launched a 5 million solar power project in Jigawa State, meant to benefit about 25 million Nigerians who are not currently hooked to the national grid.
The Solar Power Naija Program is a project under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) meant to cushion the effects of the Coronavirus on the people. Osinbajo said the project he inaugurated in Jangefe community, Roni Local Government Area, (Kazaure Emirate) of Jigawa State, would be replicated in the nation’s six geographical zones of the federation.
He said after Jangefe, the rollout will continue in Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau after which the scheme will go to the entire 36 States and the FCT covering 25million Nigerians in the end.
He disclosed that the Jangefe community, with the commencement of the Solar Power Naija programme, will get 1,000 Solar Home Systems connections for it’s about 5,000 population.
The Vice President said: “President had emphasised that we could no longer rely solely on the grid if we were to electrify the whole country, which meant that we had to develop an effective strategy for decentralizing power supply.
“Two obvious things to do were, first to think of implementing more off-grid solutions and to use renewable energy especially solar power.” Osinbajo added that one of the challenges turned opportunity was the advent of COVID-19 and the government’s response-the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“A fundamental rationale for the plan was to retain existing jobs and create new jobs. A mass solar programme seemed like a real chance to kill several birds with one stone; electrify the country and in the process, create thousands of jobs from solar assembly and manufacturing plants to installers, payment system operators, and maintenance of solar systems once installed.
“The Solar Power Naija programme which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency is an ambitious initiative that aims to create 5 million connections through a 140 billion Naira financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for 5 million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.”
Osinbajo further stated that the solar power programme is a public-private sector partnership supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria and commercial banks.
He said that structures have been put in place to make the connections costs affordable for all. Osinbajo commended the Jigawa State Governor, Alh. Badaru Abubakar, His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kazaure, the Emirate Council and the Local Government of Roni, as well as other critical stakeholders for their roles in ensuring the implementation of the programme in the community.