Nigerian Banks Frustrate Solar Energy Expansion – Expert

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A solar energy expert and Chairman of AO Demarg, General Ademola Fadunsi (rtd) has blamed banks for the slow pace of solar energy investments in Nigeria, saying the inability of banks to grant loans to investors in the sector had made investment difficult.
This was even as he hailed the Federal Government for releasing N2 billion through the Bank of Industry (BoI), for investors in the industry to access.
The retired military General, speaking in Abuja, regretted that local banks were not willing to assist solar energy investors to develop the country’s solar energy sub-sector even when according to him, many people were now embracing solar power as alternative and reliable source of energy.
Fadunsi hailed the Federal Government’s intervention through the BoI by releasing the N2 billion for solar power development in the country. He said:”Let me say here that we in the business need long-term financial backup from financial institutions but unfortunately, in Nigeria today, local banks are not giving out loans to anybody”.
He added that with the interest government was putting in the solar energy business, 2018 would be promising. Hear him: “Government is now putting more interest in the solar energy business, they have through the Bank of Industry, released about N2 billion solar fund for individuals and investors to access for the purpose of solar power. I think it’s a good start and in a right direction.
“With what the government is doing in the area of mini grid, 2018 seems promising especially by its ongoing partnership with the World Bank in this area. We see a better future next year.” He particularly lauded the government for providing a level playing ground for all players in the solar industry, saying the development had encouraged local investors not to look back in their efforts to develop the sector.
“The government is giving everybody a level playing ground depending on your capability or technical knowhow and financial backup because even though they are giving out funds too, you as an investor or vendor, must contribute some certain percentage to keep the commitment so that you won’t see the money given to you as free money, “ he said.
Fadunsi also commended the government for its initiative to focus more on connecting rural, especially remote communities with solar mini grid, saying the development will go a long way in addressing energy needs of the people besides reducing undue pressure on the national grid. “Government is already in solar mini grid, it’s a good step to power the rural areas and a good step to give light and life to rural communities”, he noted.