Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has laid the foundation for the construction of the first solar cells production plant in Gora, Nassarawa State.
The China Great Wall Incorporated Company, CGWIC, and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, NASENI, are working together on the 21 MW plant project.
The NASENI Solar Cells Production Facility has four primary production divisions and is situated on 15.8 hectares of land.
This includes a polysilicon section of 1000 tons per year, an ingot section of 50 MW per year, a wafer section of 50 MW per year, and a solar cell section of 50 MW per year.
The project will cost a total of US$171, 970, 000 million, with 85% funding from the China-Africa Development Fund via the Bank of China and 15% local counterpart funding from Nigeria, equivalent to US$146, 174, 500.
Prof. Osinbajo stated that the Solar Cells Production Plant places Nigeria among the countries promoting alternative energy.
According to the vice president, NASENI has championed the call for solar power as an alternative to fossil fuel for over ten years.
Vice President Osinbajo said that Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, the first in Africa, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council last year, sets out the country’s pathway to decarbonisation by 2060 and achieving universal energy access by 2030.
“The Nigeria Energy Transition Plan projects an increase in the use of solar power in the Nigerian energy mix, surpassing even gas by 2035,” he said.
He said that the NASENI Solar Cells Production Plant could not have come at a more crucial time.
“Not only is the beneficiation model it has adopted innovative and consistent with the African Union’s energy transition plan in the face of global warming, its output, at full operational capacity, will further impact the solar energy value chain in Nigeria through the low production costs of solar panels.
“In due course, this will in turn attract new investment, local and foreign, for the establishment of solar panel manufacturing plants across Nigeria.
“The prudent decision to site the factory in Gora, Nasarawa State, leverages translational research into the biogeography, geological surveys, and mining cadastral reconnaissance, which have positioned Nasarawa as the home of solid minerals in Nigeria.
“The major raw material requirements for the production of Solar cells – silicon and silica – are naturally occuring in abundance in this area.”
Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Shehu said the project would contribute to human capital development in the state.
“This administration has placed so much emphasis on human capital development. This project is going to bring a lot of training; so our people, our unemployed are going to gain this knowledge,” Sule said.
In his address of welcome, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna said that the agreement to establish the production plant was signed in July 2013 and was renewed in 2018 after surmounting various frustrating obstacles and bureaucratic bottlenecks that almost led to its termination.
Hu Shinkai, the Representative of the China Great Wall Incorporated Corporation, CGWIC, in Nigeria, stated in his goodwill message that the plant would create at least 19,800 jobs.
He stated that the plant would also result in the export of solar cells to other parts of Africa, as there is currently no other solar plant on the continent.