Solar turning old assumptions on its head, says PwC Nigeria

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PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria has said that earlier assumptions held by many that homes which are yet to get connected to the national grid will wait longer, are now being smashed by the technological advances made in solar technology.

PwC said while advances are being made on standalone electricity solutions for homes on one hand, the prices of components of such solutions like solar photovoltaics (PVs) on the other hand are drastically dropping to change the economics of mini-grid solutions.

Speaking at the just concluded yearly ‘power and utilities round table’ it organised in Lagos, the Partner and lead, Power and Utilities of PwC Nigeria, Pedro Omontuemhen said indications have shown that off-grid and small-scale energy solutions that generate electricity closer to end users could bolster productive uses of energy and improve the income generation of Nigerians.

“For the millions of people who don’t currently have access to electricity, the old assumption that they will have to wait for grid extensions is being turned on its head by new technological possibilities,” said Omontuemhen.

He further stated: “All or nothing, approaches that focus primarily on the national grid are increasingly out of step to what is now possible in power technology. Advances in technology are rapidly changing the options available beyond the grid.”

“Falling solar technology costs have spurred the growth of standalone home systems and are changing the economics of mini-grid systems. Battery storage technology is fast evolving to the point where it is going to play a significant role in utility-scale solar power storage and is beginning to feature in smaller-scale off-grid solutions. Together with access to mobile technology and mobile payment systems for microloans, a new era has arrived for beyond the grid electrification,” Omontuemhen added.

He further stated that: “Faster progress is needed, and we believe it can be achieved if national energy policies adopt a more comprehensive approach to energy access, embracing the new starting points for energy provided by standalone renewable technology and mini-grids.”

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