The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammad Sani Haruna yesterday disclosed that the agency has embarked on a $325,860,690 Solar Cells Production Plant to make power cheaper and affordable.
Haruna revealed this during the foundation laying for NASENI Solar Cells Production Plant in Gora, Nasarawa State, done by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said the plant is a game changer in the nation’s energy sector. Haruna said although the agreement for the production plant was initially signed in July 2013, the intervention of Osinbajo made the project to take off.
The NASENI boss said the agency’s goal was to use science, technology, innovation, and engineering to advance local content interventions in power sector reforms.
He said the commencement of the plant signaled the implementation of one of the three projects contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NASENI and the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).
Haruna said: “The cost of solar energy is still beyond the affordability of an average Nigerian hence the necessity of this project. When fully commissioned, the price of per watt of solar power supply will be cheap enough to be affordable to everyone and it is a game changer in energy and power supply industry as well as industrial development of Nigeria.
“This production and research plant consists of four main production sections on a 15.8 hectares of land which are (a) Polysilicon section of 1,000 ton per annum; (b) Ingot of 50MW per annum;(c) Wafers of 50MW per annum; and (d) Solar cells of 50MW per annum
“It will cost a total of $171,970,000USD with 85% funding equivalent of $146,174,500USD support from China Africa Development (CAD) fund through the Bank of China and 15% local counterpart funding, equivalent of $25,795,500USD from Nigeria.
“The other two projects are Electric Power Transformer Production Plant at $123,990,000USD and High Voltage Testing Laboratory at $29,900,690USD. The total cost approved for the three projects is $325,860,690 and a total of $276,981,586.5 representing 85% is 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).
“Excess capacity of polysilicon and future expansion of wafers and solar cells production will lead to exportation for foreign exchange earnings.”
Haruna commended President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the chairman of NASENI Governing Board, for according the agency a new status which has fast-tracked its innovations. He also thanked Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for making the plant project a reality.
He added: “This singular project has the capacity to positively change the energy status of Nigeria, the region, and the continent of Africa, since it is the first of its type.
“The agreement to establish this production plant was initially signed in July 2013 and was renewed in 2018 after surmounting various frustrating obstacles and bureaucratic bottlenecks that almost led to the termination of the project.