The United Kingdom, through its Department for International Development (DFID), has approved N4.74bn for the development of electricity from solar energy in Nigeria.
According to SolarNigeria, the agency in charge of the program in Nigeria, the funds will be used to scale the market for solar home lighting and power across the country through to 2020.
In a statement issued in Abuja, the agency stated that it was helping capable solar vendors and financiers to rapidly increase their capacity to reach consumers with financed solar solutions, adding that earlier pilot programs in 2015 provided capacity building grants of $1.5m to 16 companies.
It said, ‘’In 2016, a financing pilot will provide $0.5m in grants to mobilize the provision of commercial finance into the value chain for household scale solar light and power systems. A number of deposit money banks, micro-finance banks and solar pay-as-you-go specialists will be invited to apply.
The agency further stated that about 49,000 homes across the country had acquired solar lighting and power systems within three months this year.
On the significance of the solar development programme, the head of consumer markets for SolarNigeria, Leigh Vial, said, “millions of Nigerian households could today save money while enjoying bright light and clean power using solar instead of kerosene lanterns and small generators.”
He also stated that more than 14,000 of the homes benefiting from the programme were in Nigeria’s northern states, where grid deficiencies and the need for reliable power were the most acute.