Solar power is often touted as the obvious solution for millions of Nigerians who live without electricity.
But some of the biggest solar power-focused businesses in the country say some bumps remain on the way to large-scale deployment of solar power either as an alternative to or complement of existing national power grids.
One obstacle is simply “believing that it is feasible,” Mustapha Bakkoury, chairman of the board of Morocco’s Solar Energy Agency, said at a panel during the Africa CEO Forum last week in Abidjan. Even though there are “enough examples to show it works,” as Bakkoury said, a measure of skepticism is still holding back full-blown government participation in some countries. That’s reflected in “not having commitment at the highest levels” to create policy to push renewable energy, he said. More African countries need “strong commitment” to integrating renewable energy solutions.
While Nigeria,s power generating capacity has slowly improved in some states over the years, rationing, rolling shortages, and blackouts continue to hamper many communities and cities development which is considered one of the economic giants in Africa. These power cuts stunt economic growth, hindering small and large businesses alike as well as schools and hospitals.
Although, there has been an increased focus on renewable energy in many Africa countries, particularly as governments, multilateral agencies and investors alike, realize that building traditional power grids may not be the most cost-efficient way to meet the needs of the continent’s fast growing populations. Solar has been especially focused on in north Africa, with Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco leading the way and successfully growing in Nigeria.
Morocco is a model of what’s possible as the government is pushing for renewable energy to generate 52% of its electricity by 2030.
As national governments work through setting up and implementing large-scale renewable energy plans, companies offering pay-as-you-go solar solutions like Beebeejump international limited and a couple of others are seeing success in the country. By eliminating the large one-time expense of purchasing and installing solar power systems, these companies allow customers pay for both equipment and service in installments—a more feasible proposition across Nigeria and other African countries.