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UK-funded solar programme closes, pledges continued support for rural electrification

The Africa Clean Energy Technical Assistance Facility (ACE TAF), a four-year programme funded by the United Kingdom Government, says its interventions and advocacy for the energy sector will continue, even as its programme tenure in Nigeria ends.

Chibuikem Agbaegbu
Nigeria Country Manager for ACE TAF, Mr Chibuikem Agbaegbu

Nigeria Country Manager for ACE TAF, Mr Chibuikem Agbaegbu, made this known in a statement on Friday, July 29, 2022, to announce the closure of the programme.

Agbaegbu said that many of the ACE TAF interventions and advocacy for the sector would continue through other organisations and partners supporting the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

He, listing the achievements of the programme since commencement in 2018, declared its efforts at improving the enabling environment for high-quality, stand-alone solar products and facilitating private sector investment and growth, a success.

He noted that part of the achievements included the development of off-grid solar policies and action plans in Lagos, Kaduna, Jigawa and Kano as part of efforts to catalyse the transition and adoption of off-grid solar power in those states.

Agbaegbu said the ACE TAF programme also provided a fully equipped quality test laboratory for the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to support its market surveillance.

He added that it also supported the development an importation guide for Solar PV products and technologies to provide a clear understanding of the importation process for solar energy technologies and to increase transparency for solar companies.

“Both interventions were aimed at reducing the number of poor-quality products reaching the market, hence improving consumer confidence and stimulating growth.

“Stand-alone solar products are critical to plugging the energy access gap in Nigeria, where at least 77 million people do not have access to electricity.

“However, consumers grapple with the proliferation of low quality of products which does not inspire confidence as well as the high cost of these products which pose affordability constraints, especially for rural and vulnerable groups,” he said.

Agbaegbu also identified barriers still existing to scaling solutions available in the off-grid sector to achieve universal electrification for all Nigerians.

He noted the lack of market intelligence, data and unclear policies and regulations that inhibit private sector investment in the Nigeria’s off-grid sector.

He said that to address this, ACE TAF’s interventions focused on consumer protections, policy and regulatory support, affordability and delivery, and access to finance to catalyse investment and growth in the sector.

“Through these interventions, we have learnt that consumer confidence is needed for the sector to grow and that is dependent on the availability of high products quality and reducing the affordability gap.

“It is also important that stakeholders have a coordinated effort for the adoption and enforcement of energy policies,” he said.

The ACE TAF, which started in 2018, was implemented by TetraTech International Development on behalf of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

It was implemented in 14 African countries, including Nigeria, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, World Resources Institute, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, and the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

By Rukayat Moisemhe

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