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Solar Power: A Crucial Step for Cost Reduction and Emissions Control



A solar array
Nigeria’s electricity landscape is undergoing a significant transformation due to a combination of environmental concerns and the challenges posed by the country’s economic situation. Access to electricity is pivotal for national development. Addressing Nigeria’s energy needs, including the trilemma of reliability, affordability, and environmental sustainability, has a profound impact on economic growth and environmental well-being. Examining energy resources such as diesel generators, gas generators, solar hybrid systems, and grid electricity provides critical insights into their reliability, affordability, and environmental impact.

Reliability is fundamental in electricity generation. Diesel generators are renowned for their 100% availability rate and come in various capacities, making them a reliable source of power. On the other hand, gas generators, despite their reliability, face challenges related to fuel availability. Solar hybrid systems, which integrate solar PV into existing energy mixes, offer accessibility, predictability, and integration possibilities in regions with clear skies. In contrast, grid electricity has limited accessibility, reaching only 40% of the population, with an average availability of just 37%.

The escalating costs of electricity generation through diesel generators, currently standing at 38 US cents per kWh, pose a significant threat to businesses. In contrast, solar energy exhibits a competitive Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of 8 US cents/kWh, making it an affordable option, especially when integrated into hybrid systems. Incorporating a minimum of 40% share of energy demand from solar power can result in substantial cost savings. Furthermore, solar power has a minimal greenhouse gas emission footprint, presenting a substantial reduction in GHG emissions when integrated into energy mixes.

Despite hurdles in the development of solar hybrid systems, embracing solar integration emerges as a promising solution due to its affordability and environmental friendliness. Overcoming barriers related to finance and technical evaluations can be achieved through tailored climate product development by financiers, technical collaborations among energy service companies, and partnerships.

Embracing solar integration, despite challenges, promises to revolutionize energy dynamics, offering cost-effective and environmentally friendly solutions that propel Nigeria towards sustainable development. The adoption of solar energy is not only an environmental necessity but also an economic imperative for Nigeria’s energy future.

Let’s work together to overcome barriers and unleash the potential of solar energy for a sustainable and thriving Nigeria.

  • Owoeye Olakunle is the Chief Executive Officer, Ecowatt Nigeria Limited