The second day of the conference provided several encouraging developments with 600 participants in attendance including: developers, investors, financiers, regulators, policy makers, technicians, geospatial scientists, civil society, and development partners.
The event started with a welcome address by the Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, and the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). The Minister was impressed by the turn out to the event and the large number of mini-grid developers present. He highlighted the cost effectiveness of mini grids in rural areas over grid extensions—as well as for industrial and market clusters and educational institutions. He commended the REA and the World Bank for setting up the event and noted his ministry would provide necessary support for the sector.
An introductory video, highlighting the activities of REA in electrifying market clusters across the country was played, followed by an opening speech by the Managing Director of the REA, Mrs Damilola Ogunbiyi. Mrs. Ogunbiyi provided an overview of the off-grid opportunities and challenges in Nigeria and highlighted the potential of the mini-grid sector— specifically mentioning the following points:
- Nigeria will need about 10,000 mini-grids across the country
- Mini-grids will be a cheaper option for consumers as well as more profitable for mini-grid developers/operators
- The Nigerian Electrification Plan is valued at $350 million with $100 million set out for mini-grids
- She commended the new mini-grid regulations as some of the best in Africa—emphasizing that the the off-grid market was finally starting to be taken as seriously as the on-grid market
- Tier 1 solar home systems for households and Tier 2 for MSMES will lead to a 50% reduction in electricity costs
- Mini-grids being developed will target productive use of electricity particularly agriculture
The Nigerian Country Director of the World Bank also gave an opening speech inviting developers to take advantage of the opportunities and available finance in the sector.
The event then broke into five panel sessions for the rest of the day, including the following topics: creating an enabling regulatory landscape for mini-grid development in Nigeria, the ease of doing business in Nigeria, access to finance, engagement with states on their rural electrification plans, and collaboration with DISCOs.
There was much discussion in response to the panels including: how the new regulations are among the most private sector conducive mini grid regulations in Africa—beyond cost reflective tariffs; the various avenues for access to equity-debt-viability-grant financing, how to collaborate with the DISCOS when the main grid arrives, and incentives to the private sector— specifically the need for a structural framework to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Closing remarks for the day were given by the Sanusi Garba, the Vice-Chairman of NERC, and Jon Exel of the World Bank.
The Delegation of the German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria also held a stakeholders event on “Enabling Photovoltaic (PV) study in Nigeria”, organized in cooperation with the German-Solar Association, the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, and the Nigerian German Business Association, on the sidelines of the World Bank/REA ESMAP conference. The stakeholders event provided in-depth analysis on the potential for solar business in Nigeria. Representatives of the German Solar Association held a presentation on Nigerian-German solar business potential, members of GOPA Intec Nigeria discussed the Nigerian On-grid solar PV market, Solynta Energy representatives explained the success factors, challenges, and opportunities for entering the Nigerian solar market, and the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) examined the potential of solar business cooperation between Nigeria and Germany.
The presentations were followed up by a panel session on the Nigerian PV market with representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria, GIZ NESP, Pan Africa Solar and the Department of Renewable Energy and Rural Access from the Nigerian Ministry of Power. Some of the outcomes of the event were focused on pre-identified issues facing the solar PV sector in Nigeria, as well as how to help compare and explore the market barriers to Solar development in Nigeria, and the need to encourage a strategic partnership between Nigeria and Germany to encourage growth in both countries.
The Nigeria Mini Grid event is coordinated by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP); through the UK DFID-supported Global Mini Grids Facility and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF).