The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Mohammad Sani Haruna, announced on Wednesday that the organization has started construction on a $325,860,690 solar cell manufacturing facility in an effort to make electricity more affordable.
In the country’s energy sector, he claimed, the facility is a game changer. Although the agreement for the manufacturing facility was initially inked in July 2013, he said that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s influence helped the project get off the ground. He claimed that the agency’s objective was to foster local content interventions in power sector reforms by utilizing science, technology, innovation, and engineering.
At the laying of the foundation for the NASENI Solar Cells Manufacturing Facility in Gora, Nasarawa State, Haruna revealed these details in a speech. He said that with the start of the facility, one of the three projects outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding between NASENI and the Chinese Great Wall Industrial Corporation will be put into action.
According to him, the average Nigerian still cannot afford solar energy, which is why this project is necessary. When fully operational, the cost of solar power supply per watt will be low enough for everyone to afford it, which will revolutionize Nigeria’s industrial growth as well as the energy and power supply industries.
“On a 15.8-hectare plot of land, this production and research facility has four primary production areas: a 1,000 ton/year polysilicon section; b 50MW/year ingot production; c 50MW/year wafer manufacture; and d 50MW/year solar cell production.”
“It will cost a total of USD 171,970,000, of which 85%, or USD 146,174,500, will come from the China Africa Development fund administered by the Bank of China, and 15%, or USD 25,795,500, will come from local counterpart funds in Nigeria.
The other two projects are a USD 123,990,000 Electric Power Transformer Manufacturing Plant and a USD 29,900,690 High Voltage Testing Laboratory. A total of $276,981,586.5, or 85% of the $325,860,690 approved cost for the three projects, comes from China. The 15% counterpart for the three projects is $48,879,103.5 and NASENI has installmentally remitted up to 46.89% or $22,921,505.40 of the 15 percent ($48,879,103.5).
President Muhammadu Buhari, who serves as the NASENI Governing Board’s chairman, was praised by Haruna for giving the organization a new status that has accelerated its inventions. On the contrary, he expressed gratitude to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for realizing the plant project.
“This unique project, being the first of its kind, has the potential to favorably transform the energy condition of Nigeria, the surrounding area, and the continent of Africa.
“The agreement to build this production facility was first signed in July 2013 and was later extended in 2018 after overcoming a number of difficult challenges and administrative roadblocks that nearly caused the project to be abandoned.
“This foundation-laying ceremony, which took place ten years later, is noteworthy. But, I believe that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the chief celebrant today and for this project, because of the role he played in securing the support and endorsement of the National Economic Council for this and other NASENI projects while serving as its chairman.”
He noted that His Excellency, the Vice President, has encouraged NASENI to prioritize and invest the limited resources in solar energy and to ensure the success of this project due to the envisaged positive impact on energy security, mitigation of climate change, and the overall economic development of Nigeria on numerous occasions during the NEC proceedings and my one-on-one with him.