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UK approves £16.7m to upscale Nigeria’s household solar systems

The United Kingdom Department for International Development has approved an additional £16.7 million for Solar Nigeria to help scale the market for solar home lighting and power in Nigeria through to 2020, enabling millions of Nigerian households to experience reliable power for the very first time.

The pilot programmes in 2015 provided capacity building grants of £1.5 million to 16 companies. In 2016 a financing pilot will provide £0.5 million in grants to mobilise the provision of commercial finance into the value chain for household scale solar light and power systems.

An additional 49,000 homes across Nigeria acquired solar lighting and power systems in just three months this year with help from Solar Nigeria, an innovative programme that helps solar suppliers and financiers scale up and allows households to access this equipment on full commercial terms.

The aim of the Solar Nigeria Programme is to scale up the private market for small solar lighting and power systems. Funded by UKAID, Solar Nigeria will help millions of Nigerian households (and micro-enterprises) to access modern, clean, lighting and power at lower cost than kerosene lanterns and small generators.These homes now enjoy bright light and reliable power at lower cost than kerosene and generators. More than 14,000 of the homes benefitting are in Nigeria’s northern states, where grid deficiencies and the need for reliable power are the most acute. All systems were accessed on full commercial terms, with the householder paying cash, taking a loan, or renting the equipment.

“Millions of Nigerian households could today save money while enjoying bright light and clean power using solar instead of kerosene lanterns and small generators. So why do they not already use it?

“They need someone trustworthy to make quality solar products available to them in their village, and they need to be able to pay for it over time. This requires capable companies to invest in the market, to reach the customers, and to enable financing,” said Leigh Vial, head of consumer markets for Solar Nigeria.

Originally published in The Guardian

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