Solar Energy Struggles in Nigeria: High Costs and Government Hurdles Stall Vital Projects

Despite abundant sunshine that could power the nation, Nigeria has faced obstacles in completing large-scale solar projects. Experts have identified high interest rates, reaching up to 15%, as a major barrier for solar companies operating in the country

In Nigeria, where approximately half of the population lacks reliable access to electricity, the promise of solar energy as a solution has been hindered by significant challenges, leaving many communities in darkness.

Despite abundant sunshine that could power the nation, Nigeria has faced obstacles in completing large-scale solar projects. Experts have identified high interest rates, reaching up to 15%, as a major barrier for solar companies operating in the country.

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This financial burden far exceeds rates in developed economies like Denmark, making it difficult for projects to secure essential funding.

Najim Animashaun, director of Nova Power, highlighted the disparity: “A solar project in Nigeria faces interest rates of 10% or higher, whereas a similar project in Denmark could secure funding at rates as low as 2 to 3%.”

This financial strain significantly impacts project viability despite the potential to generate much-needed electricity.

Compounding the issue, Nigeria’s government-regulated electricity prices do not reflect the true cost of generation, leaving power distribution companies unable to pay producers adequately.

This shortfall has resulted in a significant debt owed by the government to power producers, currently totaling $2.7 billion, further deterring potential investors.

Edu Okeke, managing director of Azura Power, emphasized the need for international support, suggesting that World Bank guarantees could alleviate investor concerns and stimulate project development.

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However, reluctance from Nigeria’s government to shoulder potential financial liabilities has complicated efforts to secure such guarantees.

The impact of Nigeria’s energy crisis is palpable across the country. In cities like Ibadan, schools such as Excellent Moral School struggle without electricity, hindering students’ access to modern learning tools like computers and the Internet.

Even connected communities face frequent power outages, forcing reliance on costly diesel generators following recent fuel price hikes due to removed oil subsidies.

For businesses like Nature’s Treat Café owner Ebunola Akinwale in Ibadan, the energy deficit poses a significant threat. Akinwale spends $1,700 monthly to operate emergency generators, threatening the viability of her multiple stores.

Despite government claims that full-priced electricity would attract foreign investment, recent protests against electricity price increases suggest widespread public skepticism.

Sam Amadi, former regulatory chief, doubts the feasibility of immediate energy cost recovery from Nigerian consumers without subsidies.

He advocates for government incentives to support private solar initiatives, suggesting tax breaks and payment plans to encourage investment and alleviate the persistent electricity shortages.

Until such measures are implemented, Nigeria’s struggle with electricity access is likely to persist, impacting education, businesses, and daily life across the nation.

As the debate over energy policy continues, the future of solar energy in Nigeria remains uncertain, with both challenges and opportunities on the horizon.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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