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UK project empowers 49,000 Nigerian households with solar solution


Solar panel PHOTO:AFP

Solar panel PHOTO:AFP

An additional 49,000 homes across Nigeria acquired solar lighting and power systems in just three months this year with help from SolarNigeria Programme. The programme is an initiative that helps solar suppliers and financiers scale up and allows households to access this equipment on full commercial terms.

These homes now enjoy bright light and reliable power at lower cost than kerosene and generators. More than 14,000 of the homes benefitting are in Nigeria’s northern states, where grid deficiencies and the need for reliable power are the most acute. All systems were accessed on full commercial terms, with the householder paying cash, taking a loan, or renting the equipment.

The boost represents a dramatic increase in Nigeria’s household solar market. In 2015, the estimated total market was around 130,000 units. Between January and March 2016, new homes connected as a result of the SolarNigeria initiative have already matched over 40 per cent of that total.

This was achieved despite the significant challenges of limited access to foreign exchange for importing solar, and the overall declining economic conditions in the country. These high quality plug-and-play solar systems include everything from single bright lamps through to Solar Home Systems able to power multiple lights, a television and fan.

Companies supported bythe Solar Nigeria Programme provided the solar systems to Nigerian households. The aim of the SolarNigeria Programme is to scale up the private market for small solar lighting and power systems.

Funded by UKAID, SolarNigeria will help millions of Nigerian households (and micro-enterprises) to access modern, clean, lighting and power at lower cost than kerosene lanterns and small generators.

“Millions of Nigerian households could today save money while enjoying bright light and clean power using solar instead of kerosene lanterns and small generators. So why do they not already use it? They need someone trustworthy to make quality solar products available to them in their village, and they need to be able to pay for it over time. This requires capable companies to invest in the market, to reach the customers, and to enable financing,” said Leigh Vial, head of consumer markets for SolarNigeria.

SolarNigeria is helping capable solar vendors and financiers to rapidly expand their capacity to reach consumers with financed solar solutions. Pilot programmes in 2015 provided capacity building grants of £1.5 million to16 companies.

In 2016 a Financing Pilot will provide £0.5 million in grants to mobilise the provision of commercial finance into the value chain for household scale solar light and power systems.

A number of banks, micro finance banks, and solar pay-as-you-go specialists will be invited to apply. Following these pilots, the UK Department for International Development has approved an additional £16.7million for SolarNigeria to help scale the market for solar home lighting and power in Nigeria through to 2020, enabling millions of Nigerian households to experience reliable power for the very first time.

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