High-quality solar products critical to serving 77m underserved Nigerians
The Country Manager, Africa Clean Energy Technical Assistance Facility (ACE TAF), Chibuikem Agbaegbu, has said high-quality stand-alone solar products are critical to plugging the energy access gap in Nigeria, where at least 77 million people do not have access to electricity.
He stated this while reeling out the achievements of the four-year programme funded by the United Kingdom, ACE TAF, which aimed at improving the enabling environment for high-quality stand-alone solar products and facilitating private sector investment and growth.
Agbaegbu said consumers grapple with the proliferation of low quality products, which do not inspire confidence as well as the high cost of these products that pose affordability constraints, especially for rural and vulnerable groups.
He noted that Nigeria’s off-grid sector faces lack of market intelligence, data, unclear policies and regulations that inhibit private sector investment.
Agbaegbu said the ACE TAF’s interventions focused on consumer protections, policy, regulatory support, affordability, delivery and access to finance to catalyse investment and growth in the sector.
He added that consumers’ confidence is needed for the sector to grow, which is dependent on the availability of high quality products and reducing the affordability gap.
He noted that it is important stakeholders have a coordinated effort for the adoption and enforcement of energy policies.
Agbaegbu, while announcing the close of the programme, listed the achievements since its commencement in 2018, which include, the development of off-grid solar policies and action plans in Lagos, Kaduna, Jigawa and Kano States as part of efforts to catalyse the transition and adoption of off-grid solar power in those states.
Others include the provision of a fully equipped quality test laboratory for the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to support its market surveillance as well as the development of an Importation Guide for Solar PV Products and Technologies to provide a clear understanding of the importation process for solar energy technologies and to increase transparency for solar companies.
According to him, the interventions were aimed at reducing the number of poor-quality products reaching the market, thereby improving consumer confidence and stimulating growth.
He also noted that the facility also identified barriers that still exist to scaling solutions available in the off-grid sector to achieve universal electrification for all Nigerians.
Agbaegbu assured that many of the ACE TAF interventions and advocacy for the sector would continue through other organisations and partners supporting the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).