A professor of Electrical/Electronic, Ma-Riekpen Edekin Evbogbai, has called for a shift from the conventional hydro-based energy to renewable or solar-powered energy sources, to drive economic and industrial growth in the country.
Evbogbai made the call while delivering the 2nd Inaugural Lecture series of Edo State University, Uzairue, with the title: “Light, Man and Development: Photovoltaic Power Generation for Sustainable Development”.
He noted that renewable energy sources are readily available in inexhaustible quantities and environment-friendly.
His words: “Renewable energy such as solar power is inexhaustible, replenishable and environment friendly, which can be converted to electrical energy and available for all and sundry unlike the hydro energy which requires a swift flowing river and hydro carbon based energy resources which are site specific.”
“Photovoltaic power generation which involves the direct conversion of light energy from the sun into electrical energy is the most viable solution to resolve the electrical energy crises in Nigeria because it is renewable, clean, cheap and environmental friendly.
“To ensure industrial and economic development, there is need to improve electricity generation and distribution across the country as approximately a meagre 5,000 MW is currently available for transmission to final consumers.”
This improvement, he added can be achieved by incorporating photovoltaic power generation in the nation’s electricity energy mix.
According to the University Don, “Access to electricity is one of the major constraints to the private sectors of Nigerian economy, for this reason, some indigenous and foreign companies are relocating to African countries such as Ghana, South Africa.
“New investors prefer to establish their companies and businesses in countries having adequate, stable and reliable electricity.
“The high percentage lack of access to electricity makes Nigeria the country with the largest energy deficit in the world,” he stressed.
To address this anomaly, Prof. Evbogbai explained that government must take advantage of photovoltaic power generation to improve electricity supply for the creation of new market, businesses and jobs openings which provides more opportunities for individuals to earn income and lift themselves, families and community out of poverty.
“Solar energy can be put in practical use, such as rural electrification of small and isolated communities, water pumping, storage of drugs and vaccines in health clinics, powering remote transmitters in telecommunication and railways signalling, protection of oil pipelines, storage tank, television viewing and street lighting,” he said.
Evbogbai who is the Dean, School of Engineering of the University, therefore recommended that high tech solar panel production factories should be established and the existing ones be properly equipped and funded to meet the demand for solar panels in Nigeria.
He further called for the encouragement of developmental, result-oriented research through adequate funding, devoid of organisational bureaucracy in accessing research grants, adequate and regular monitoring of developmental projects and research sponsored by government or non-government agencies should be carried out to curb sharp practices in the process of disgusting and utilization of the funds for specified project.
He added that, collaborative efforts between indigenous and high-tech foreign processing industries should be encouraged through regularly organised seminars, workshops and conferences for cross fertilization of ideas and product exhibition, appraisal of the existing Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) Centres in the six geo-political zones should be done periodically to continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of these centres in terms of quality research output, standardization and demonstration to ensure success story of a fast growing and dynamic photovoltaic industry as well as creation of of enabling environment for the commercialization of the Photovoltaic Power generation.
These, he said, will make the sector more productive and competitive, thereby accelerating its evolution for sustainable development.
Earlier in his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor, described the lecture as appropriate at this time.
He noted that the University, Uzairue has demonstrated the capacity to be an emerging world class university in Nigeria and the African continent through its digitization of her modus operandi in executing core mandate, which, he said has facilitated its admission into the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the Consortium of New Sub-Saharan Medical Schools (CONSAMS), with all programmes offered in the University approved by relevant regulatory bodies.