The Bank of Industry (BoI) in its bid to complementing the efforts of govern ment to explore other sources within the energy mix said that plans have reached advanced stage for it to secure li cense for solar power gen eration in rural communities across the country.
Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, BoI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa who disclosed this also said the bank has already opened talks with the Rural Electrifica tion Agency (REA) through the Ministry of Power to se cure approval for the project.
Olaoluwa explained that power generation below 5 megawatts needs the ap proval of REA, while the project is to be executed in conjunc tion with United Nations Industrial Development Or ganization (UNIDO). According to him, the Ministry of Power has already taken the lead in this regard through the commissioning of three projects in the Federal Cap ital territory under the Light Up Nigeria initiative.
An excited Olaoluwa said the move by Bol to provide light to rural communities was aimed at helping small businesses grow and to further encour age private sector operators to look in this direction.
‘‘As a development bank, our role is very catalytic .We noticed that there have been a lot of talks about diversifying the economy of this country. The Minister of Power has taken the lead in this respect in terms of actually commissioning three projects in the FCT under the light up Nigeria initiatives.
“But that is a government project. What we are doing as a development bank is to take the lead in encour aging the private sector to look at a particular area of the energy mix they can key into it. And our renew able energy programme in partnership with UNIDO is to encourage off grid rural energy projects,’’ he said.
The pilot scheme, he said would kick off with six communities across the country, adding that off grid rural electricity programme is a commercial concept that is viable. Interestingly, he said the concept was not for huge power genera tion capacity but the ability to demonstrate to financial institutions that off grid so lar energy is a viable ven ture. ‘‘If you go to the United States, there is a company there that is called Solar City; it is a multibillion dol lar business and what do they do? They install solar panels for homes and that is what we are trying to take a lead from as a development bank in Nigeria. It is our be lief that other banks would follow suit,’’ he said.