Minister of Power Abubakar Aliyu
About 24 solar mini-grids are to be deployed this year under the Mini-Grid/Interconnected Mini-Grid Acceleration Scheme, also known as (I)MAS, the Federal Government has said.
It said private sector investors would deploy the grids by receiving support from the Federal Government through its Rural Electrification Agency, European Union and German Government to provide electricity in Nigeria.
It disclosed this in a statement issued by the REA in Abuja where it announced that eight local solar mini-grid developers had received grants through the agency with the financial and technical support of the EU and Germany within the framework of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme.
The statement read in part, “Depending on the ability of the private sector, between 18 to 24 solar mini-grid projects will be deployed in 2022 under the (I)MAS project, serving clean electricity to around 138,000 people in Nigeria.”
The REA outlined the solar mini-grids developers that received grants to include A4&T Power Solutions, ACOB Lighting Technology Limited, Darway Coast, GVE Projects Limited, Havenhill Synergy Ltd, NAYO Tropical Technology Ltd, Sosai Renewable Energies Company and Rubitec Solar Ltd.
“They were selected through a competitive process under the (I)MAS. The (I)MAS grants encourage more solar mini-grid projects in Nigeria and facilitate access to reliable and affordable electricity, especially in the unserved and underserved areas of the country,” the agency stated.
It noted that at the grant agreement sign-off ceremony in Abuja, the Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, explained that through the programme, more communities across the country would be electrified.
“The Federal Ministry of Power is always open to opportunities that will achieve the acceleration of electrification in Nigeria. The Federal Government is appreciative of the support from Nigerian Energy Support Programme towards providing reliable electricity in Nigeria,” he stated.
The Managing Director, REA, Ahmad Salihijo, underlined the relevance of the grant to the development of solar mini-grid projects in Nigeria.
He said, “The objective of the grant support is to facilitate the (I)MAS solar mini-grid projects to ensure increase in rural access to reliable and affordable electricity.
“As contained in the agreement, the cost of the grant assets will not be included in the cost of development in order to achieve affordable and appropriate electricity tariffs for those in the rural and peri-urban areas where these projects will be implemented.”
The Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund, Sanusi Ohiare, noted that while investors were being encouraged to explore the solar mini-grid sector, one major constraint to their project development was finance.
“Hence, the REA with the support of NESP was able to alleviate this major burden by providing capital in-kind grant to selected mini-grid developers on favourable and encouraging terms as contained in the grant agreement.”
The Head of Section, Green Economy, at the European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Inga Stefanowicz, expressed hope that the EU’s contribution would help improve access to reliable and affordable electricity in Nigeria.