Nigeria readies three solar mini-grid plants for concessioning

Nigeria could in a matter of days concession three solar photovoltaic mini-grids built in Kaduna and Abuja to private operators to operate and make them profitable, an official of the country’s ministry of power, works and housing, has disclosed.

Mr. Temitope Dina, an assistant chief electrical engineer in the ministry told journalists in Abuja that the federal government would concession the three solar power projects: the 50 kilowatt (kW) Pakau mini-grid plan and 40kW Gnami, both in Kaduna, as well as the 1.2 megawatts (MW) Lower Usuma Dam solar plant, to private operators to run them successfully.

Dina, who conducted journalists around the facilities recently, noted that the concession exercise could happen by the next quarter of 2018.

He also explained that the 1.2MW solar plant in Lower Usuma Dam which was built to power the water supply services of Abuja Water Board, has since it began operation in 2016, supplied electricity without payments to the distribution network of the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, while the water board has continued to pay the Disco for electricity supplied to it.

According to him, the absence of a net metering regulation by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had prevented the water board from reconciling its supplies from the solar plant to the grid and from the grid to it, adding that at the moment, the board pays an average of N12 million to Abuja Disco on energy consumed monthly.

When concessioned, Dina, explained the ¥980 million plant which was built by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as part of an aid grant from the Japanese government to Nigeria, would have its concessionaire install a net metering facility and subsequently sell excess generated electricity to the grid instead of freely sending it to the Discos.

He noted that the plan of the 1.2MW solar facility was to help the water board cut down its annual electricity spend by N31.5 million, in addition to reducing carbon emission by 741.9 tonnes annually.