Manufacturers can help Nigeria’s off grid energy market to flourish – Boer

Local manufacturing outfits can benefit from Nigeria’s off grid renewable energy market and even facilitate its growth, Dr. Wiebe Boer who is the chief executive officer of Shell-funded impact investor All-On has said.

Boer stated this during a webinar organized by the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) which is a green financing line for businesses developed by the French Development Agency (AFD), to attract investment into Nigeria’s renewable energy and energy efficiency sector.

The webinar was hosted in partnership with the Nigerian Energy Support Program (NESP) implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and All-On.

He explained that manufacturers in Nigeria could use existing off grid solar energy solutions in their operations, suggesting thus that this could equally help them cut their energy expenditure.

“If we can bring manufacturers to this space [the off grid renewable energy market], then we can actually bring it to scale and unlock the potentials of renewable off grid in Nigeria,” Boer said.

According to him, huge market returns equally exist for anyone willing to take advantage of Nigeria’s energy gap and invest in the off grid renewable energy market.

He said that: “The size of the energy gap in Nigeria is between 30GW and 175GW and would cost between $40 billion to $200 billion to address.

“Nigerians spend $15 to $20 billion annually on power, which is ten times the grid. This is also a market opportunity for providers of constant, reliable electricity, such as mini grids which are a potentially $10 billion market.”

The SUNREF webinar also had members of the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) in attendance, with the President of MAN, Dr. Mansur Ahmed expressing the association’s sentiments on the development.

Ahmed said that: “The SUNREF facility has come at the right time when manufacturers need more power to drive our operations,” and added that, “We are excited about it as potential beneficiaries and we hope that both our members and non-members will take full advantage of this opportunity.”

In this regard, the manufacturers were encouraged to take advantage of the SUNREF funding facility, which is composed of a €60 million ($70 million) low-cost debt financing, a €9.5 million ($11 million) grant facility and technical assistance provided to partner banks and project developers to cost-efficiently improve their energy supply options.

The webinar equally hosted a matchmaking session by the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) to enable interactions between manufacturers and other businesses which could lead to joint project development and implementation for SUNREF funding.

Accordingly, the SUNREF Nigeria programme, seeks to improve access to energy through improved access to affordable finance for renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency initiatives that will improve lives, increase economic opportunities, and support various sectors such as industry and agriculture.