The federal government says Nigerians will have the option to pay to own millions of solar panels it plans for 5 million homes as part of its Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).


The ESP was rolled out in 2020 in response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


To own a solar unit, there will be the option of paying N4,000 monthly for three years. That translates to N144, 000 a unit.


This was revealed in a statement issued by the Office of the Vice President on Thursday. It was not immediately clear what the other alternatives would be.


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called the programme a “game-changer” in terms of providing jobs and expanding the use of renewable energy in the country.


The off-grid project is financed by UBA, Sterling Bank, First Bank and Fidelity Bank and its implementation will be driven by the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.


The statement said Mr Osinbajo spoke about the initiative during a virtual engagement with stakeholders involved in the implementation of the Solar Power Naija Initiative on Thursday.


He was quoted to have said, “Our Solar Home System was designed to be a game-changer in the renewable energy space, in other words, it is not just a programme to provide off-grid power alone, but one that creates opportunities for the development of the local capacities in the assembly, manufacture and even maintenance of equipment.”


“We have seen quite a bit of interest already from international and local players across the off-grid solar value chain, there is indeed a lot of interest that we are seeing,” Mr Osinbajo said, according to the statement signed by his assistant, Laolu Akande.


The government hopes the plan will service 25 million Nigerians who are not connected to the national grid.


With regards to ownership, Mr Osinbajo said, “Under the scheme, there is an option of outright ownership by beneficiaries possibly at a rough estimate of N4, 000 per month for a period of 3 years.”


“Also, there is the value addition to the economy in the area of job creation for at least 250, 000 persons and the ramping up of local content in solar equipment manufacturing systems installation and maintenance,” it said.


“The banks that are keyed into this have already shown a great deal of interest and leadership in this particular area and we commend them for what they have done so far. We hope that we will be able to work closely with them as we go ahead. And same with all of the assemblers, manufacturers of off-grid systems.”


Mr Osinbajo called on commercial banks to support the federal government’s move towards developing the local capacity for the entire solar energy sector.


“As you know, the CBN is committed to this, and we hope that this partnership will be one that we will be able to leverage to achieve great things in the coming months.


“Please leverage on the funding opportunities that have been offered and all of our internal people are willing to work to ensure that you succeed,” he stated.

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