British born entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Atlantic is optimistic about the renewable energy market in Africa with a particular interest in Nigeria. He is set to lead a set of impact investors into investments in off mini grid solar energy panels and infrastructure to power electricity in homes and businesses across the nation. Even though the prospects of renewable energy like solar mini grids has been mired by risk, access to project financing and interest rate. The Rocky Mountain Institute in collaboration with the Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency & the World Bank announced at a recent conference in Nigeria, announced that they have found a solution to the challenges that is posed to the commercial viability of solar energy as a source of energy for Nigerian homes and businesses.
In a statement that clearly speaks of his vote of confidence on the opportunities that exist for diversifying the power sources of Nigeria and growing the consistency of power supply to homes and businesses whose productivity is mostly crippled by a lack of power and not its ability to pay for it, he said “Developing off-grid alternatives to complement the grid could create a $9.2B/year market opportunity for mini-grids and solar home systems that will save $4.4B/year for Nigerian homes and businesses. And there is large potential for scaling – installing 10,000 mini-grids of 100 kW each can occur for 10 years and only meet 30 per cent of anticipated demand.”
“The combination of large revenue opportunity (USD $9.2 billion per year), a supportive government, and a dynamic entrepreneurial environment unite to make Nigeria the ideal location. If you are an impact investor that wants to make a difference in energy access next year, I’d suggest a trip to Nigeria”
Recently the Minister of Power Babatunde Fashola announced that for the first time in nearly five years, the national power grid is consistently generating above 5k megawatts of electricity, this for a nation of 180m people projected to rise by 140% to 390m by the United Nations Food Population Agency (UNFPA) is 11% of the 48k megawatts of power South Africa generates for a population of 55m people. In the year 2017, the Global Business Report of the World Bank Ease of Doing Business shows that Nigeria out of 191 nations surveyed moved 8 points from 180 to 172nd position in access to electricity.