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The future of Solar power electricity in Nigeria and Africa

It has been a long time wish by scientists that one day, all the electricity we need in our home and appliances will come from free renewable energy sources, especially from the sun.

Today, the reality is dawning before our very eyes as more and more appliances are now being powered by the free energy from the sun. Take for instance, the PSC Solar (UK) office in Ikeja Lagos, Nigeria. The entire building and every appliance in the entire office structure which runs into almost 20kW are completely powered by FREE energy from the sun! And you know what? We have completely eliminated the need to regularly buy diesel and the disturbances from the sound pollution from generator engines!

We may be taking it a bit too far in citing the example of our PSC Solar office. Let’s turn to smaller electrical devices like the calculator. Many electronic calculators today come with a built-in solar cell for an alternative power source. As a matter of fact, many more electronic calculators do not have the ON/OFF key anymore as the device can run forever with the accompanying solar cell and can automatically turn off when the illumination is weak. Who cares? The electricity is free anyway!

Solar electricity which was exclusively used to power advanced electrical systems before like Satellite electrical systems up in the space, etc., today powers traffic road lights and signs, street lights among and virtually any electrical device you can think of today.

So why is solar electricity not very popular in Nigeria and Africa?

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In the late quarter of 2015, after the present Vice President went to the United Kingdom to discuss on how to boost the country’s renewable energy capacity, the Managing Director of PSC Solar (UK), Dr. Patrick Owelle published a widely circulated essay on the need for Nigeria to boost the power generated from Solar energy.

This article was widely read and was both published by the Vanguard and the Guardian Newspapers. Part of the essay reads:

“Nigeria has already taken positive steps by announcing very aggressive goals to meet 40 percent of its energy needs through renewables by 2020. I firmly believe that, with favorable policies and strategic economic investments, Nigeria could meet all of its energy needs through renewables by 2040.

 

At the recent signing of the Nigeria/UK Solar Energy Partnership held in London on October 22, 2015, the Nigeria Vice President stated – “Nigeria will be the place where all of the example will be set for the rest of Africa. We are really looking forward to.”

 

Solar Power Potential in Nigeria

Nigeria is endowed with abundant free solar energy. Using the country’s deserts and farm land and taking advantage of 320 to 350 sunny days a year, Nigeria could easily generate 5,000 trillion KWh of solar energy.

In other words, Nigeria could easily install around 1,000 GW of solar generation — equivalent to 40 times the current peak power demand (about 25 GW) — using just 0.5 percent of its land. In addition, Nigeria can produce over 100 GW from wind power.”

Fossil Fuel or Renewable energy?

Fluctuating price of Oil Photo
Fluctuating price of Oil
Photo: Reuters

Its no longer news that there is fuel price crisis in the world and in Nigeria. With Iran planning to push about a million barrel a day in the already oversaturated market, the future of further exploration of crude in Nigeria doesn’t look that good. As a matter of fact, the United States, which used to be a major buyer of Nigerian crude has now doubled their domestic production leaving Nigeria with little option than to drive down our price and search for new market in Asia.

The present crisis may only create a future boom in the coming years or decades but the truth remains that fossil fuel isn’t renewable, the wells will someday dry off!

So we have seen that the future of solar energy in Nigeria is extremely bright. The question remains whether it is the government or the private sector that should take the lead in the renewable energy source distribution. The answer is very clear in our present mixed economy system but the truth remains that the government will have to pass favourite policies that will only boost the production and distribution of clean electricity to every one.

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