Foundation Laying Ceremony Of NASENI Solar Cells Production Plant In Gora, Nasarawa State

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It is such a great pleasure to join you here today, to witness this pioneering effort of NASENI as it sets and seeks to transform Nigeria’s power and energy sector by establishing the first solar cell production factory in West Africa. But let me pause to bring you the warm felicitations of the Chairman of the NASENI Governing Board, President Muhammadu Buhari who sends his warm congratulations to you all.

This landmark achievement places Nigeria within the ranks of countries pushing the boundaries in the use of climate-smart alternative energy sources, particularly solar power. And as we have heard, this particular project is built on 10 years of work.

10 years ago, NASENI established its 7.5mw solar panel production plant and the capacity is now 21mw.

For those watching NASENI closely, I am sure you will find the connection between this historic development and the Federal government’s proactive steps to ensure that NASENI gets the 1% of the Federation Account annually as prescribed by its founding law.

It is evident that this collaboration and active work of Mr President has heralded a new dispensation for NASENI, one that has given it the financial wherewithal to execute its mandate of delivering technological and innovative interventions across critical sectors of the economy, including Agriculture, Health, Defence and Security, Power and Energy, Financial Services, Solid Minerals, Additive Manufacturing, Smart Fabrications, Factories, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and Virtual Manufacturing.

For over ten years, NASENI has been consistent in championing solar power as an alternative to hydro and fossil power sourcing. And it was to this end that the agency established NASENI Solar Energy Limited (NSEL) in Karshi, Federal Capital territory, with a mandate to deliver alternative solar energy to homes and businesses in Nigeria.

The development and maturity of the Naseni Solar Energy Limited whose operations have been driven with the vim and zest of a tech start-up, forecasted an increase in local content of the solar energy production system in Nigeria, leading to ever-increasing production of solar cells.

Solar cells are critical to the entire solar energy value chain, because they determine the sensitivity of solar panels to trap and accumulate solar energy, from the sun. But perhaps more importantly, given the urgency of climate action today and the importance of developing African Green Energy manufacturing and solutions, NASENI’s solar cell production factory in Nigeria will be a game-changer.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, $50 billion worth of diesel fuel is used each year, with diesel generators producing more energy than the entire energy grid in 17 countries in the region.

The resultant emissions of carbon monoxide has since become a major and worrying source of pollution. In Nigeria, for example, generator emissions are equivalent to emissions from all of the country’s 11 million cars put together. This is clearly unsustainable and calls for a significant shift.

Our Energy Transition Plan, the first of its kind in Africa, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council last year, sets out our 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.

This factory 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 that has 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. We are grateful to the good people of Nasarawa for hosting this important project and congratulate you in advance for the positive boost it is certain to bring to the local economy.

On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, I congratulate NASENI on the leadership role it has played in bolstering our national Science, Technology, and Innovation ecosystem, and commend the agency for its transformational advances across the country.

I must also commend the dynamic executive Vice Chair of NASENI. Engr. Prof, M.S Haruna and his team. His leadership has launched NASENI into a new phase of accelerated progress. Well done.

To the Glory of God Almighty and for the benefit of our dear nation, I hereby lay the foundation of Nigeria’s Pioneer Solar Cell Production factory in Gora, Nasarawa State, and trust that it will meet and surpass all our expectations when it becomes fully operational.

Thank you.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.