Nigeria is betting on solar energy for a strong recovery

Photographer: KC Nwakalor / Bloomberg

Suleiman Babamanu’s journey to the heart of Nigeria’s largest solar energy program began in disappointment.

After university, he worked as an intern geoscientist in a unit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. A job in the industry – Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer – would be a traditional and lucrative route. But he couldn’t find a job.

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It was around 2010, when the growth of clean energy around the world began to look like a potential career path. The industry in Nigeria did not gain much strength and he put that idea aside until a conversation with a relative persuaded him to reconsider.

“A cousin told me not to go where the money is, but where the money goes,” he says. “I immediately changed my mind and applied for a master’s degree in renewables and received a scholarship.” This referred him to the University of Newcastle in the UK, and then to a number of public and private jobs in the renewables industry in his country, including projects that received World Bank funding.

It is now implementing Nigeria’s largest investment in solar energy, part of the Covid state’s economic recovery plan. Project, Solar Power Naija is also a step towards solving one of Nigeria’s biggest problems: the lack of reliable electricity.

refers to the betting in Nigeria on solar energy recovery company Covid


Photographer: KC Nwakalor / Bloomberg

According to the Paris Climate Agreement, Nigeria is committed to reducing carbon emissions by 20% by 2030. To get there, its goal is to generate 30% of its energy from renewable sources. To make progress, 10% of the government’s 2.3 trillion naira ($ 5.6 billion) spending to boost recovery from the pandemic will be used to install 5 million solar home systems. The goal is to provide electricity to 25 million people in rural communities who currently do not have access to the grid.

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