World Bank’s $350 million (N126.5 billion) funded Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) has received a boost with a new agreement to reduce energy gap for underserved Nigerian households and micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The grant; Output Based Fund (OBF) aiming to supply Solar Home Systems (SHS) to homes and businesses across Nigeria, is being implanted by Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
Speaking at the signing ceremony with a contractor, Emel Solar Solutions, Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad noted the need to secure the nation’s economic growth through addressing electricity challenges.
Ahmad disclosed that energy crisis remained a serious issue in need of innovative solutions to ensure that Nigerians have access to clean, safe and reliable electricity.
Managing Director of Eme Solar, Onye Mba Uzoukwu also stressed the need to bride the electricity gap in country, adding that the pact would provide the right opportunity to contribute to the nation’s pressing challenge.
The energy company’s Marketing Head, Olubunmi Olowu, said the initiative was a step in the right direction.
SHS Component Lead of NEP, Ifunanya Nwandu-Dozie, said the objective of the Standalone solar Home System component is to help millions of underserved Nigerian households and micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs) access better energy services at lower cost than what they currently pay through the sale of stand-alone solar systems (Solar Home Systems (SHS).
She further highlighted that expanding reach to consumers across Nigeria is costly and requires significant investment in soft infrastructure such as people, training, advertising, increased working capital, logistics among others.
She added that decreasing a portion of those costs with grant enables successful applicants to reach and serve customers faster.
Nwandu-Dozie noted that providing the grant against each system after installation means that the government knows what it is getting for its money, and automatically directs the grant proportionally towards those solar providers that are most successful in serving more customers.