Photograph — Credible Carbon

The government of Borno State has unveiled a solar panel factory with the capacity to produce 40 Megawatts (MW) worth of panels annually.

The fully automated plant is the largest of its kind in Africa by capacity and its establishment is a major boost to efforts aimed at diversifying Nigeria’s energy sector.

In an interview with Daily Trust, one time Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Engineer Ali Ibrahim explained that Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State intends is to set the stage for the state’s industrialisation with the factory.

The governor plans to also kickstart the economy of the state in response to the economic dislocation wrought on the state by a decade-long insurgency.

Based on the capacity of the factory, the goal is to achieve self-sufficient power generation in three years. Borno requires about 120 to 150 MW to power its industrial drive, lubricate the economy, give access to small scale entrepreneurs and propel growth.

“In Borno and in the North, we have abundant sunshine, and I wonder why we cannot invest in solar energy to provide realistic and affordable power to our people in order to fast track growth,” Ali, now in charge executing Governor Shettima’s industrialisation policy, said.

This is a welcome development for the state and even better for Nigeria, which continues to see increased investments in renewable energy, especially solar.

Last month, Ventures Africa reported that Solar Nigeria, a subsidiary of Solar Philippines, reached an agreement with the Ode Omi community in Ogun state to build a 599 kilowatts rural mini-grid that will power hundreds of households. It will be the largest in the country and requires an investment of about half a million dollars.

Additionally, Nigerian Breweries Plc and CrossBoundary Energy Limited signed a Solar Power Purchase Agreement later in March. The deal is for the installation and operation of a 650 kilowatts solar plant in Ibadan – the first solar-powered brewery – set to be operational this year.

The newly established Borno solar panel factory sees Nigeria overtake South Africa and Egypt in terms of large solar plants in the continent.

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