Six new microgrids have been developed simultaneously in Nigeria as part of a rural electrification program backed by the World Bank. The projects show the considerable possibilities available from the scaling up of microgrid rollout programs.
Located in Nasarawa State, the solar hybrid microgrid projects will provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity to about 5,000 households and 500 businesses. Six communities in the Doma and Lafia local government areas will gain access to electricity for the first time. Communities benefiting are Rukubi, Idadu and Igbabo in Doma and Kiguna, Akura and Gidan Buba in Lafia. The projects will also support local agricultural activities such as milling, cold chain and irrigation.
Developed by Husk Power Systems, the projects are rolling out under the auspices of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), an initiative funded by the World Bank and the African Development Bank and implemented by the nation’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The NEP saw its first solar microgrid installed two years ago in the village of Rokota. Since then, some 359 private sector-led solar microgrid projects have been launched, potentially providing electricity to 1.1 million people.
According to the World Bank, the NEP will leverage private sector investments in solar microgrids and stand-alone solar systems to provide electricity to 2.5 million people and 70,000 micro, small and medium enterprises. The projects are being financed through an International Development Association credit of US $350 million and at a total cost of $765 million. The solar hybrid microgrids will use a market-based approach but will be supported by subsidies to reduce initial capital outlays.
In September, Husk received financial support from the REA to develop a total of seven hybrid solar minigrids in Nasarawa, as part of the NEP’s performance-based grant program.
With six already up and running, a seventh site will come online in 2022 along with details of a larger pipeline of projects. Husk forecasts a fleet of more than 100 minigrids in Nigeria within the next 24 months, growing to 500 minigrids by 2026.
Since setting up in 2020, Husk’s Abuja-based team has already grown to more than 40 staff and it plans to expand to several other Nigerian states before the end of 2023.
“Nigeria’s leadership in rural electrification and making minigrids a centerpiece of national energy strategy is a global best practice,” noted Manoj Sinha, Husk co-founder and CEO, in a statement.
“The completion of six minigrids by Husk Power Systems in Nasarawa State is an important step in scaling rural electrification and achieving energy access for all Nigerians. We look forward to jointly continuing to move the needle in providing electricity to the 80 million people who don’t have access to this today,” said Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nasarawa State.