Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) says it has achieved 1 million solar home systems connections between 2019 to 2022. This is according to the agency’s official Twitter account on Tuesday, November 22.
According to the agency’s statement, the milestone was made possible through the Standalone Solar Home Systems (SHS) component. The statement read:
“With this milestone, about 5 million people across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria are now enjoying access to clean, safe, reliable & affordable electricity through the use of SHS technology.”
The 2022 Renewable Energy Targets report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which was released on November 21, 2022, highlights the fact that as of August 2022, renewable energy targets for rural electrification were implemented in almost 30 countries, mostly focusing on off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV). One of these countries is Nigeria.
Renewable Energy Action Plan: In 2016, Nigeria established its National Renewable Energy Action Plan, which is supposed to be active till 2030. On a regional level, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for just 2.6% of global targets by 2030, with a target capacity of 140 GW by 2030. A lot of work still needs to be done to increase electrification rates.
The REA says that the objective of Standalone Solar Home Systems for households and micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs) component is to help millions of unserved and underserved Nigerian households and MSMEs access better energy services at an affordable cost, through stand-alone solar systems through private sector companies.
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REA also highlights the fact that renewable energy developers have consistently leveraged the programme’s Output Based Fund (OBF) sub-component to deploy solar systems to Nigerian homes and MSMEs, especially in underserved rural communities. Data from the REA shows that the agency has electrified 328,765 female-headed households, and also electrified 1,206 female-headed micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
For the record: The IRENA report notes that going forward, renewable energy targets need to consider the overall energy demand, its forecast and any changing patterns in all sectors of the economy. The different end uses, including electricity, heating and cooling, and transport, need to be considered in conjunction, with careful consideration of how sector coupling and energy efficiency would affect the future energy mix.
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Considering the stance of the IRENA report, and Nigeria’s population growth, currently at 216 million and projected to reach 400 million by 2050, according to the United Nations Population Fund, it is instructive to consider putting population growth in plans while designing renewable energy access strategies. As the IRENA report says, population growth is one of the factors leading to increasing electricity demand. Other factors include economic and social development and electrification of end-uses.