Every Nigerian child is familiar with the phrase “Up Nepa”. Nepa which represents The Nigerian Electrical Power Authority, better known for blackout. We were hopeless with NEPA, we wanted a change so we adopted PHCN (power holdings company of Nigeria), only to realize that you can change the frame but the picture remains the same. Our journey in search of uninterrupted power supply still continues but we hope to rest at the bosom of Solar Energy.
The minimum wage for an average Nigerian used to be about eighteen thousand Naira a few months ago. The poverty rate in Nigeria is on the rise, people can barely afford daily meals. Compare the price of solar equipment in the market to living standard of an average Nigerian, you would agree with me that Solar energy in Nigeria is for the rich.
HOW CAN WE BRIDGE THE GAP
This where the Government should step in. Its no secret that the Nigerian economy is solely driven by the oil and gas sector. It is high time we diversify. To make solar energy equipment cheaper and more accessible to the average Nigerian, the government should:
- Import duty waiver on solar equipment should be introduced.
- Government should Invest in solar energy technology.
- Direct grants and investments whereby funding is transferred directly to recipients, often for research and development.
- Loans and loan guarantees, catering for the risk that the private sector and investors face in either research and development or commercialization and expansion stages.
- Tax incentives that help improve the economics of either initial investment or operations in renewable technologies.
- Rebate programmes should be introduced.
- Creating an enabling environment for decentralized energy system that can interconnect with the national grid.
- Regulating the standards of solar energy equipment and installation
If just a few of these suggestions are implemented, the Nigerian Energy industry would take a quantum leap and the statement “Solar energy in Nigeria is for the Rich” would be history.