·Says company is closing Nigeria’s electricity deficit with 100 MWs solar power addition
By Mohammed Mohammed
The Managing Director/CEO of NASENI Solar Energy Limited (NSEL), Dr. Jafaru Oshiobugie Mahmud, has disclosed that the reason for the establishment of NASENI Solar Energy Limited (NSEL) by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) is being fulfilled even as the Company is working round the clock to close Nigeria’s electricity deficit.
He advised both the Organized Private Sector (OPS) and State Governments to channel investment and to key into the solar energy production because of the abundance of its natural resources and the growing manpower availability in the country, adding: “We in NSEL and even at NASENI Headquarters are upping our game on awareness creation to reach-out to Nigerians through the media such as this platform, some directly and some from the headquarters in helping to propagating this epistle that energy from solar is a low-lying fruit that we can pick instead of waiting endlessly for the energy that comes from the mix.”
According to him, the concern and passion to see a genuine socio-economic transformation of the country led the agency into full-scale solar panel manufacturing including other renewable energy mix.
The NASENI solar firm, he added, is currently generating between 80 to 100 Megawatts of Solar electricity with its installed capacity to generate more even as the factory could be replicated in all 36 states of the federation in collaboration with the private sector.
While conducting a combined team of online editors in the company’s manufacturing hall, in Karshi, the CEO, acknowledged that NASENI initiated NSEL as outcome of research and development (R&Ds) efforts in response to the cry that energy was not sufficient in the country and significantly at a time nobody was doing anything to increase the generation of more power for the country.
Also, the concept he said was the Agency’s contribution to improve or boost energy required for both technological, social, political and economic development of Nigeria.
In 2010, he explained, NASENI set up this place as Karshi Solar Manufacturing Company, that was what it was called then, but particularly the current NASENI Executive Vice Chairman /CE Prof. Mohammed Haruna had worked hard with the dream that NASENI should be able to contribute to Nigeria’s energy mix through production of alternative power supply.
So, in NASENI there is the Small Hydro Power (SHP), there is the wind energy, and there is solar energy, etc, but significantly the NASENI Solar firm was meant to demonstrate the practicability of solar energy concept in the country such that investors and venture capitalists will take up the responsibility to run it as business.
NSEL commenced with the solar PV manufacturing, and of course it began 10 years ago with the Completely Knocked Down (CKD), but gradually local content started coming in, and as at today, the manpower is 100 percent Nigeria and in terms of raw materials for solar manufacturing, the company is in the neighbourhood of about 23percent local content “because we have some local things which we are doing and it is no longer business as usual of just bringing foreign solar parts in and then we just assemble, no.”
Mahmud said: “The next phase is that we are closing the gaps in expertise because even the solar facilities that we have on ground still don’t have enough manpower to support them and that is why we went into construction of training facility, the 120-seating capacity which is about to be completed. It is dedicated for training and conferences on solar energy and related renewable energy innovations.”
NASENI solar panels are currently in use in many Nigeria homes and do not fail in supply of electricity nor stop working. The M.D said: “We have users and direct customers already: home owners, public and private facilities, super markets, airport road, Life camp, CITEC estate, EFAB and many more.
“We have customers that would tell us how they wanted the solar energy deployed, we are happy to tell you that till today the solar system we have installed for all our customers are doing greatly well.”
On challenges, he admitted, adding, yes there are challenges, Mahmud said. Challenge number 1 is the current flooding of Nigeria markets with substandard products either as solar PVs or finished products. But what we know is that solar energy is location dependent activity and therefore requires survey and appropriate design.
Even in Nigeria, what you design for Maiduguri should be different from what you do for Abuja. So, also what you will do for Lagos is quite different from what you do in Imo State because the climatic conditions are different. So, you must be sensitive to geographical conditions or else when you design those facilities they will not give you optimum performance. Two, we have quacks or so-called experts who do not have in-depth knowledge on how solar system works; they just know that when you join one or two wires to something light will come.
There are some people who have suffered in the hands of so-called solar experts or inexperience workers. Such people have only been creating bad image or impression in the hearts of people who hired them, creating doubt that solar does not work or inefficient or that solar is a waste of money and time.
Thirdly; we have the issue of lot of solar materials still being imported. So, the cost of solar energy is still relatively high. However, this particular issue of high cost of solar is currently being addressed by NASENI with the proposed plan to set up a solar cell manufacturing plant in Nigeria soon which is the major raw materials needed for the manufacturing of solar and related products. NASENI plans to increase local content of solar panel manufacturing in Nigeria up to 85 percent through local production of solar cells from silica ingots (common sand) which is massively abundant in the country.
The solar cells manufacturing alone will create a minimum of nineteen thousand eight hundred (19,800) local jobs from extraction and processing of silica including aluminum framework production. This venture will lead to conservation of Nigeria’s foreign exchange and reduction of capital flights.