The Nigerian Government says it has increased power generation with the addition of 1.2 Megawatts (MW) of solar energy to the national grid.
The Minster of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stated this while inaugurating a solar plant at Lower Usman Dam on Tuesday in Abuja.
The solar plant, built in partnership with the Japanese Government, is the first solar plant tied to the national electricity grid.
It has the potential to carry the load of the water works at Usman Dam and capable of producing electricity of about 400 Kilo Watts when the sun is high.
It also has the potential to provide excess power to the surrounding communities when the sun is high.
Fashola said that the power plant was in fulfilment of government’s plan to increase electricity through incremental power supply to steady and uninterrupted electricity in the county.
“As we said in our power sector road map for electricity development that we are going to start from incremental power because there is not enough power.
“ We will go from incremental power to steady power and we will go from steady power to uninterrupted power.
“This is the first step to incremental power, again we have kept our words, we have added more power here,“ he said.
He said that by completing the solar project in partnership with the Japanese government, the Federal Government had fulfilled its earlier promise that it was going to complete any feasible and viable project.
Fashola also said that the completion of the project was a testimonial of government’s commitment to expand the energy mix by ensuring less dependence on gas for electricity generation.
“We have kept our words today, we are expanding that energy mix with this solar plant.
“So this solar plant fulfils that commitment that we will do what we say.“
Fashola said that the plant would assist Nigeria to reduce the treatment of water electricity bills to the tune of N31 million per annum and help reduce carbon emission.
“What we have done here is to do our part through this project, water treatment electricity bills will reduce by 31 million naira per annum, that is the kind of saving that you get here.
“Carbon emission will reduce by 741 tons per annum and that means you will have cleaner air, so it is not just power for its purpose alone.
“ It is power that brings water and power that brings cleaner air and power that brings jobs.”
He said that the power plant was the beginning of many more initiatives and partnerships for the development of the electricity sector, while also calling on Nigerians to cultivate the attitude of conserving energy.
“So, we have seen one solar power plant dedicated to producing power, we will see many more solar plant, powering universities, power all source of facilities as we go on, this is our word and we will keep it“.
Earlier the Minster of FCT, Alhaji Musa Bello, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Babatope Ajakaiye, thanked the Japanese Government for supporting the project technically and financially.
He said that the FCT had also demonstrated its commitment to the project by providing the required counterpart funding.
Bello called on staff of the Water Board to take proper ownership of the. project by ensuring its security, adding that FCT administration would protect the installations and ensure its sustainability.
The $9.7 million solar project
Meanwhile the Japanese Government, through its agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has donated solar power worth $9.7 million to the Federal Government to boost electricity in the country.
The Ambassador of Japan to Nigeria, Mr Sadanobu Kusaoke, in Abuja on Tuesday during the inauguration of the project stated that Japan considered the power sector as one of the most important areas to enhance Nigeria`s socio-economic development.
“Since from 1970s, Japan has helped to finance power sector to increase the capacity of power in Kainji dam hydro power station.
“This is the 10th project of power sector by the Japan`s Government since then and this will not be our last. “
He said the project which entailed the introduction of clean energy by solar electricity was donated by the government of Japan to boost power and water supply at Usman Dam Water Treatment Plant.
“The project is being executed with grant assistance worth Nine Hundred and Eighty Million Japanese YEN (980,000,000 JPY) (equivalent to approximately 9.7 million USD) through JICA, “ he said.
According to Kusaoke, stable power supply is crucial to support industry and to improve economy and the lives of people.
The Ambassador emphasised the importance of stable power supply to Nigeria`s quest to diversify her economy.
He commended the designer of the project, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, for its design, management and the completion of the project on schedule.
Kusaoke, who explained that the project was capable of generating 1,496MWH, added that this would result in reduction of N31.5 million per year for payment of the electricity bill.
Earlier, Mr Hirotaka Nakamura, Chief Representative of JICA, Nigeria office, said improving core infrastructure including power sector in Nigeria was one of the priority areas of the agency in Nigeria.
According to Nakamura, developing alternative energy resources such as solar, wind and hydropower will boost electricity in the country.
He explained that the project was designed to introduce a demonstration unit of solar electricity generation system with a view to increasing its economic strength on a sustainable basis.
According to the JICA official, with the Japanese assistance, about 1.2 mw of grid connected solar generation will be gained at Usman Dam Water Treatment Plant to supplement electricity supply from the national grid.
“Following successful tests on the installed solar system, the first phase of the project with generation capacity of 975kwp is being commissioned today.
“The second phase will bring additional 207kwp generation to this system hopefully in January 2017. “
Nakamura further stated that the project would contribute to the improvement of quality water supply in the Federal Capital Territory.
He, therefore, appealed to the FCT administration through its water board to handle the project with care and also provide sufficient funds to maintain the generation system.
In his remark, Alhaji Hudu Bello, the Director, FCT Water Board, who expressed gratitude to the government of Japan and its agency JICA, said the project would improve revenue accruable from the water sector in the FCT.
“This is elaborate project that will improve water supply to the residents of Abuja; it will also reduce the rate at which we consume diesel to pump water, “ he said.
Bello said the project would reduce the cost of generating electricity and also contribute power to the national grid to improve supply within the nation`s capital