Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the N71.19 billion ($171.97m) facility, which he described as the first solar cell factory in West Africa, will be a game changer.
He added that the facility would meet and surpass all expectations when it be- comes fully operational. He spoke during the foundation laying ceremony of the project in Nasarawa State.
He said: “The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure’s solar cell production factory will be a game-changer, given the urgency of cli- mate action today and the importance of developing African green energy manufacturing and solutions.”
He explained that the abundance of Silicon and Silica, which are major raw materials for the production of solar cells, was responsible for the siting of the NASENI solar cells production plant in Gora, Karu Local Government Area of the state. According to him, the foundation laying ceremony was a culmination of a decade’s work by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure which the Buhari regime has funded through a one per cent annual allocation from the federation account.
Osinbajo noted that the ceremony was aculmination of a decade’s work by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure which the Buhari regime has funded through a one per cent annual allocation from the federation account.
According to him, the project is necessary as it would be “clearly unsustainable” to add more carbon emissions to the $50 billion worth of diesel fuel used in sub- Saharan Africa every year.
The thinking, the VP said, was in line with Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, which projects an increase in solar power use in the Nigerian energy mix, surpassing gas by 2035.
Osinbajo said: “The major raw material requirements for the production of solar cells—Silicon and Silica—are naturally occurring in abundance in this area.
We are grateful to the good people of Nasarawa for hosting this important project.
“The prudent decision to site the factory in Gora, Nasarawa State, leverages translational research into the biogeography, geo- logical surveys and mining cadastral recon- naissance that has positioned Nasarawa as
the home of solid minerals in Nigeria. “The major raw material requirements for producing Solar cells—Silicon and Silica—are naturally abundant in this area.
“We are grateful to the good people of Nasarawa for hosting this important proj-ect and congratulate you in advance for the positive boost it is certain to bring to the local economy.” He added: “This landmark achievement places Nigeria within the ranks of countries pushing the boundaries in using climate-smart alternative energy sources, particularly solar power.
“And as we have heard, this particular project is building on 10 years of work. 10 years ago, NASENI established its 7.5MW solar panel production plant. Its capacity is now 21MW.” The Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, commended Prof Osinbajo for his concern towards the development of the State, the country and the welfare of Nigerians. He said: “We also in Nasarawa State knowing that you touched lives, will never forget you, we remain grateful to you, sir, in office and out of office.”
The Executive Vice Chairman of NAS- ENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, said the plant, which covers 15.8 hectares of land, consisted of a polysilicon section with a capacity of 1,000 tons per annum, an Ingot section of 50MW per annum, Wafers of 50MW per annum and Solar cells of 50MW per annum. Haruna said: “It will cost a total of $171,970,000 (N71.19bn) with 85 per cent funding equivalent of $146,174,500 (N67.31bn) support from China Africa Development fund through the Bank of China and 15 per cent local counterpart funding, an equivalent of $25,795,500 (N11.88bn) from Nigeria.
“The other two projects are the Electric Power Transformer Production Plant at $123,990,000 and the High Voltage Testing Laboratory at $29,900,690. The total cost ap- proved for the three projects is $325,860,690 and a total of $276,981,586.5 representing 85 per cent is from China.” Haruna explained that the 15 per cent counterpart for the three projects is $48.88m and NASENI has in instalments remitted up to 46.89 per cent or $22.92m of the 15 per cent ($48.88m).