IFC, Others Plan Solar Power for SMEs

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Thousands of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria would benefit from solar energy programme being put together by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Department for International Development (DFID) and local financial institutions.

The Country Manager, IFC, Eme Essien Lore, in an interview with The Nation in Lagos, said the IFC was partnering DFID and banks in Nigeria to achieve this goal.

She said IFC through its off-grid and embedded solar market development and finance programme, would provide solar power to willing SME owners.

She added that the programme ensures that IFC, the Department for International Department (DFID), and banks in Nigeria partnered to provide technical and financial support for owners of SMEs that are interested in accessing solar power for operation.

According to her, the banks, through their Energy or Oil and Gas units, would disburse loans to SMEs, in order that they could  access solar electricity for their operation.

She told The Nation that some selected local financial institutions would be used by the IFC to provide technical and monetary supports to owners of small and medium scale enterprises in the country, adding that the Corporation was undertaking the programme for SMEs owners because it was cheaper and easy to install when compared with coal, biomass, wind and other renewable energy sources.

Lore said IFC was working with the Department for International Development to improve access to electricity and further contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“IFC plans are to provide thousands of SMEs with solar energy, improve economies and create employment opportunities in Nigeria and Africa in the next 10 years. We intend to make use of the abundant Sun light in Africa to achieve our goal of providing off-grid electricity through solar energy. IFC has provided about $3.5billion for renewable energy projects such as biomass, hydro, solar and wind, globally and wants to do more.

“Through solar energy, people produce electricity they need and reduce transmission losses to a great extent. In the grid method of power generation electricity there are huge transmission losses due to weak facilities and to avert the losses, a lot of money and expertise are required.”

Also, the DFID’s representative in Nigeria, Ben Mellor, said the government of United Kingdom (UK) was interested in improving off-grid electricity in Nigeria to promote growth. He said off-grid electricity serves as a viable option to meet the needs of people in the low income segment of the economy, stressing that solar and other off-grid electricity would help in improving businesses in such areas when deployed.

“Access to energy is one of the most critical needs in Africa and particularly Nigeria. Based on this, the UK Department for International Development is determined to assist in bringing solar technology financing solutions to smaller businesses and corporates and we are working with IFC to achieve this goal,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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