A solar PV manufacturing plant, described as one of the first large scale production facilities in the world for lightweight solar panels with ultra-low carbon footprint, is being planned for development in Nigeria.
The 1,000MW capacity project is a collaboration between the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp), a $15Billion government-backed, privately managed infrastructure development, the African Green Infrastructure Investment Bank (AfGIIB) and Solarge International BV, a European manufacturer of lightweight solar panels.
There were no details on the project site, or timeline, when the plan was unveiled on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP) 28, the climate change conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria is an unlikely site for a large-scale solar plant manufacturing factory. There is no single solar power plant in the country that has a capacity exceeding 10MW. Indeed, the highest capacity solar plant in the country is the 10MW facility, sited near the Challawa Industrial Estate, in the Kumbotso local government area of Kano state, in the country’s north. It was commissioned in February 2023.
The government, in 2016, signed power purchase agreements (PPAs) with 14 independent power producers (IPPs) for the construction of 1, 120MW of total installed grid-connected solar capacity. None of these plants were ever constructed, as disputes over tariff price and guarantees to mitigate developers’ risk drew a wedge between the government and the IPPs.
Even so, there’s a growing number of Standalone Solar Home Systems for Households and Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as well as Mini-grids for specific, remote localities not connected to the grid.
It is these systems that are expected to provide the initial market for the proposed manufacturing facility.
The three partners: InfraCorp, Solarge and AfGIIB, collectively note that the facility “will play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s commitment to sustainable local manufacturing and critical infrastructure for achieving net-zero emissions and advancing its energy transition plan to cleaner and sustainable energy sources, reducing reliance on traditional fossil fuels”.
The parties also see the plant as an avenue for job creation, acceleration of electrification as well as a growth vehicle for the economy.
“More fundamentally, the project reinforces the drive towards localisation, green manufacturing and import substitution agenda of the country.”, declared Lazarus Angbazo, ICEO nfraCorp.
Nigeria already has a solar panel manufacturing factory. It is a 100MW automated Solar PV manufacturing plant, commissioned by Auxano Solar on September 28, 2023, in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub. Prior to establishing the new facility, Auxano ran a plant with an installed capacity of 10MW in an area called Navy Town, in the west of Lagos. It was the country’s first privately owned, solar PV manufacturing plant.
What the planned project by InfraCorp, Solarge and AfGIIB, is mainly contributing, however, is a combination of scale, capacity increase and the fostering of international relationships.
Jan Vesseur, CEO of Solarge, said the joint efforts “will contribute to the realisation of a sustainable and resilient energy future for the country and strengthen the long-standing bilateral relationship between the Government of Nigeria and the Netherlands.”