World Bank Helps Fund 1,000 Solar Mini Grids In Nigeria

The work is being implemented by Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency.

By Sneha A on
11th August 2023

The World Bank has agreed with the Nigerian government to help fund the construction of 1,000 solar mini grids under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP). 

“We will eventually try and get about 1,000 mini grids put up across Nigeria,” said World Bank president Ajay Banga, speaking on 5 August at the commissioning of a mini grid in the Petti community, located in the Federal Capital Territory of the country. 

“Today, we’re at numbers that are closer to 150 [mini grids]; we’re putting another 300 in, but our ambition with the government is to go all the way to 1,000. We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars being invested from the World Bank, but add to that the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being invested by private entrepreneurs and the government.” 

The NEP is being implemented by Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and aims to provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity for unserved and underserved rural communities in the country. The programme is being facilitated by loans from the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The initiative is targeting the electrification of more than 400,000 households, 50,000 small businesses and 500 health facilities spread across the country. 

“Many countries around the world have gone through an urban-led development model, which automatically creates challenges of reaching services to the last place in a rural area,” said Banga. “Ideas like [the solar mini grids] change that model; [they] don’t rely on very expensive grids to reach every village, but empower the local village with local facilities to change the lives of local people.” 

In 2018, the Nigerian government secured $550 million of financing from both the World Bank ($350 million) and the AfDB ($200 million) for the implementation of the NEP. The World Bank’s funding is being used to drive four components: solar hybrid mini grids; standalone solar home systems; the Energizing Education Programme phase 2 (EEP II); and technical assistance. The AfDB’s funding is being used for four components as well: solar hybrid mini grids; energy-efficient productive use appliances and equipment; the Energizing Education Programme phase 3 (EEP III); and technical assistance. 

According to 2021 figures from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Nigeria has an installed power generation capacity of about 12,522MW, of which about 4,000MW is transmitted. On average, the population gets only seven hours of electricity supply a day, according to an article titled ‘Keeping the lights On or Off’, published in July 2022.

Illustration of nighttime lights in Nigeria, published by the World Bank
Illustration of nighttime lights in Nigeria, published by the World Bank






Top Photo: World Bank president at the Petti solar mini grid commissioning (© Rural Electrification Agency)

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