Indigenous renewable energy firm, Blue Camel Energy has signed multiple partnership deals with some frontline energy financing and original equipment manufacturing (OEM) firms, to set up an integrated solar photovoltaic (PV) assembly and training complex in Kaduna state.
The firm would also build a battery recycling plant within the complex, as part of a larger plan to cut the costs of procuring and deploying solar PV projects in Nigeria.
Blue Camel Energy’s Managing Director, Mr. Yusuf Suleiman, disclosed this development to OGN in an exclusive interview in Abuja. He stated that the plan has also attracted the government of Kaduna which provided it land space for the complex, though the government isn’t a financial partner in the project.
Suleiman explained that the complex would as part of its overall objectives, engage in design and manufacturing of quality solar energy products, training of solar technicians and technically sound workforce to manage the different solar installations coming on stream across the country, and recycling of batteries to cut batteries’ imports bills.
The idea, he added was to begin to push Nigeria to attain some level of competitiveness in Africa’s solar PV industry. He said the first phase of the complex could come into operation within the next couple of months, and should in its first one year of operation, provide jobs for 250 young Nigerians.
“We just discovered that there is a lot of use for solar LED lighting solutions across the country and these LED solutions are badly engineered. They are mostly awarded by governments, and these products are not properly designed and engineered and the resultant effect is massive failure.
“We thought that if we set up an assembly production line where we are giving out training to people to be able to engineer it better, that will reduce the cost,” said Suleiman.
He further stated: “We hope to see better engineered products, longer warrantees, better support services for the street lighting products but that’s just one of the products that we have in mind, we are already researching very deeply into battery recycling.
“The factory site we have is enough to accommodate about three different production activities simultaneously. So, we are going to have the street lighting and other solar products assembly line – all the equipment are already on ground for the assembly line so as soon as we have the structure we hope to commence activities in earnest.
“Then, the second line is the battery recycling. The amount of batteries that we import into this country on a daily basis is scary and I don’t know if you’ve ever imagined or thought about what happens to these batteries when they are dead.
“There is a lot of potential environmental hazards that are waiting. So, if we begin to look at proper battery disposal and recycling process, not only to ensure that the used batteries are properly discarded, (but) also (to) ensure that the total quantity of batteries that continue to come in (to the country) is reduced.”
According to him, “the other part of this whole project is the training academy, where we intend to set up a training academy where we will have different courses and different curriculums and different modules for different purposes.”
He stated: “We are working hand-in-hand with the GIZ and we are also working with Winrock, USAID. So as much as possible we have a number of companies already lined up, ready to partner with us in terms of support and equipment like General Electric, ABB and quite a number of other standard original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).”