A consortium of American investors in renewable energy has pledged to deliver in two years, 1,200 megawatts (MW) of solar-powered electricity in Nigeria. Operating under the auspices of MOTIR SEASPIRE, the consortium, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo in Abuja, stated that it has a portfolio of over $5 billion to invest in solar power generation in the country.
A statement from the ministry explained that while the project site was yet to be known, the proposed solar plant would be installed with guaranteed US standard on solar panel technology. The investors noted their capacity and intention to increase the scope of the project from the initial 1200MW to 10,000MW within the next five years.
The president of the consortium, Emmanuel Irono, who is a Nigerian in diaspora, said the $5 billion fund portfolio for the project could be accessed over a period of five years into the integrated renewable energy project.
He said the initial 1200MW will be realised in the next two years, adding that the local content component of 80 per cent Nigerians will make the country the hub of its activities in Africa. “As a compatriot, the concern for providing employment to the teeming populace will be a plus to the company’s quest for provision of training for the Nigerian workforce in the power sector in general and renewable energy in particular,” he said.
While responding after signing the MoU on behalf of Nigeria, Nebo expressed his excitement that a compatriot is making such efforts in harnessing the vast potentials of solar energy in Nigeria. He added that studies have shown that Africa is greatly endowed with solar put at over three times the capacity of all other renewable energy sources combined.
The minister also commended the American group for taking the bold step. He insisted that the Nigerian government will work to fast track the project by helping the group leverage further on the Power Africa initiative of US President Barrack Obama with funding.
“We must support this project, as it will be in tandem with Mr. President’s long time wish for Nigeria to enjoy its abundant solar potentials especially those in rural areas, as it is envisioned that through a project like this, they would be linked to micro or mini grid system,” Nebo said.