21.5 C

FACT CHECK: Solar panel factory in Borno State not Africa’s ‘biggest’ for production capacity


1min read

POPULAR Twitter account Africa Facts Zone repeated a widespread claim in August 2019 that Nigeria’s Borno State has the “biggest” solar panel factory in Africa.

In April 2019, the state’s former governor, Kashim Shettima, unveiled an automated solar panel manufacturing plant in the state. Shettima left office in May 2019.

“It is Africa’s biggest and is fully automated,” Ibrahim Ali, the official in charge of executing Shettima’s industrialisation policy, reportedly told newspaper Daily Trust at the time. “Each year, we would have an aggregate of 40 megawatts.”

The claim by Ali, a former minister for petroleum, was then repeated on other major news platforms, including Nigeria’s GuardianLegit NG, and PM News. It was also shared on Twitter by the federal ministry of environment and the personal assistant to the president on social media, Lauretta Onochie, among others. 

Two plants able to produce more

Africa Check asked special assistant to the state governor on new media, AbdulRahman Ahmed Bundi, to clarify what Ali meant by “biggest”, but the email address Bundi gave bounced.

Spokesperson for the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association, Vuyo Ntoi, told Africa Check there are different metrics by which to judge the size of a solar panel factory.

“It could be about revenue, the number of employees, floor space or the size of the machines,” Ntoi said, adding that the capacity of solar panels sold – in kilowatt or megawatt – is most commonly used. “There are probably lots of places on the continent that make photovoltaic panels but those that do at industrial levels are few and far between.”

- Advertisement -

Ntoi referred us to South African factory ARTsolar that was set up in 2010 in Durban. Zubair Ali, a project engineer at ARTsolar, told Africa Check the factory is able to produce up to 300 megawatts per year.

Sunprism Energy Technology, a solar panel manufacturer in Cairo, Egypt, says on its website it has a “production capacity of 50 megawatts per annum”. The company’s financial manager, Amr Abu Ali, confirmed this figure to Africa Check.

Both these African factories therefore have a larger production capacity per year than Borno State’s new plant is reported to have.


This fact-check was produced as part of an Africa Check fellowship completed by ‘Kunle Adebajo, a journalist at Nigeria’s International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support the ICIR

We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.


2023 presidential election: Behold politicians being touted as Nigeria’s next messiahs

ABOUT 18 months to the 2023 presidential elections, a number of Nigerian politicians are...

Lawmakers grill presidential committee over controversial sale of Radio Nigeria building

Nigerian lawmakers have invited members of the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Sale of...

Delta House of Assembly passes anti-open grazing bill

A bill prohibiting open grazing in Delta State has been passed by the state...

Buhari asks Senate to confirm new board members of EFCC

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Nigerian Senate to confirm the new board members...

Buhari writes Senate, seeks amendment to PIA

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Nigerian Senate to amend the recently signed Petroleum...

Most Read


Subscribe to our newsletter