The Federal Government has announced plans to award subsidies to mini-grid developers for the deployment of solar power mini-grids to 150 underserved and unserved electricity sites across seven states.
The government announced this in a statement issued by the Rural Electrification Agency on Friday. It noted the deployment of the mini-grids would be driven by the private sector. It said the Project Management Unit of the REA, under its Nigeria Electrification Project, just concluded a hybrid pre-bid conference for the Minimum Subsidy Tender programme of the solar hybrid mini-grid component. The solar hybrid mini-grid component is financed by the African Development Bank.
The Minimum Subsidy Tender programme is a key component of the NEP, aimed at catalysing the Nigerian off-grid market, while aiding the deployment of solar hybrid mini-grids at scale. The solar hybrid mini-grid component of the NEP supports the development of private sector mini-grids in unserved and underserved areas that have high economic growth potential. The REA explained in the statement, “A private sector-driven programme, the MST is targeted at awarding subsidies to mini-grid developers to catalyse the rollout of solar and/or hybrid mini-grid solutions across up to 150 sites split into seven lots across seven states in Nigeria.”
According to the agency, the pre-bid conference also provided an opportunity for further clarification on components of the bidding document issued; offering an opportunity for feedback on the application process and programme-specific information to support prospective bidders in the finalisation of their bids.
While commending the private sector players for their interest and enthusiasm, the Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo, said, “The Minimum Subsidy Tender was a significant milestone in Nigeria’s efforts towards providing reliable and sustainable electricity to its citizens, particularly in rural unserved and underserved areas.”
The REA is committed to a transparent and competitive bidding process, which will result in the selection of qualified and capable contractors who will deliver the project on time, within budget and to the required quality standards, he said.
The Head of the Project Management Unit, NEP, Abba Aliyu, said the MST programme was one of the models that were being adopted specifically because it provided a transparent economically viable approach to providing access to electricity to rural off-grid communities. The REA explained that the Federal Government, through the support of both the World Bank and the African Development Bank, had continued to optimise the Nigeria Electrification Project to power off-grid communities nationwide with clean, safe and sustainable energy solutions.