Solar Energy: Solution to Power Generation Shortage in Nigeria

Solar energy is a viable solution to the current power generation shortage. With solar energy, you can reduce your reliance on the grid and help protect the environment.

by Vincent Godstime

The Nigerian government has been battling the problem of electricity generation and access to power over the last two decades. This is highlighted by the fact that Nigeria is the largest purchaser of standby power generators in world; a tradition-bound society where importing power generators has become common. The latest reports show that highly placed political figures are behind the importation of power generators to Nigeria, with the NTA reporting that the Federal Government plans to limit or eradicate those imports all together. When we consider the potential benefits associated with this–improving current energy sectors and minimizing harm done by generators–it’s clear who we should trust for solutions.

However, eradicating or minimizing generator importation is not the true remedy to Nigeria’s electricity problem. The Federal Government of Nigeria should focus on the source of this problem, which is power supply. In addition to addressing power supply, the Federal Government of Nigeria should subsidize other alternative energy sources, like solar energy. It’s important to focus on a solution that will benefit society, not simply make these fringe issues their focus.

Fundamentally, the power sector is a component of the larger economic sector, and it plays a strong role in our lives. Right now, Nigeria’s power generation capacity is around 6,000 megawatts, with an average working capacity of 2,000 megawatts to supply electricity for over 150 million people. In Finland, the current power-generation capacity is more than 36,000 megawatts and provides electricity for 5.5 million people. Over the last few decades, Nigeria’s energy sector has had trouble supplying enough electricity to its population and transporting that electricity. This problem has pushed down the quality of electricity in excess of what’s required by consumers.

However, the shortage of electricity cannot be placed in a general context. Other factors include the current state of Nigerian economy, which mainly focuses on agricultural production and crude oil extraction. Low or total absence of physical infrastructure has also been identified as one of the major problems in the power sector. Based on years of electricity research on the need for Nigeria, we believe assessing constant supply may result in increased industrial development within Nigeria. This would greatly benefit Nigerian energy sector by achieving national electric power goals – to raise capital energy consumption over a period of ten years.

Energy is vital to every earthly process. In the 1970s, society realized it needed to switch to renewable energy when oil prices skyrocketed. Today, this campaign is even more important because of the finite nature of fossil fuel resources as well as the greenhouse gases they emit. By using renewable resources, we will increase our available energy supply with minimal environmental impact.

Nigeria is located within the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and has high potential to harness solar power. One reason for this is that, being in a tropical region, there is plenty of available sunlight. The country also has the advantage of not requiring as many capital investments as other forms of energy development such as conventional fuels. This means it’s possible to use the profits from these energies to invest in non-conventional, less capital-intensive and safer energies like solar power. Sunlight is an infinite source of energy if it’s developed – unlike with some other sources, large investments aren’t needed. So far, Nigeria neglected the solar energy that was all around it. Solar energy can be considered one of the most promising forms of renewable energy due to its limitless potential – quite literally. This immense energy comes in the form electromagnetic radiation which reaches 1.5kW/m2 at the atmospheric boundary. It’s been confirmed that Nigeria receives 51280000 kWh per day from sun rays, just on average – which is equivalent to about 258.62 million barrels of oil annually or 42005724 GWh annually in power production!

Among renewable resources, solar power is regarded as the leading choice for off-grid power generation. There are a number of reasons for this. Particularly, its versatility. Solar technology can be installed in almost any location – mountains, deserts, jungles and even offshore locations – and can suit any power requirement so long as enough photovoltaic panels are installed. Similarly, solar power’s reliability means it doesn’t require much maintenance or oversight. Solar power’s ability to provide efficient on-site power production makes it suitable for a wide range of applications and industries: from the oil and gas sector to rural electrification. It also suits humanitarian applications such as rural electrification, which is where remote areas are provided with solar power facilities.

Approximately 1.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity, 83% of which are found in rural communities. Bringing sustainable electricity to rural areas is a highly rewarding task, though it can also be challenging. Effective harnessing of solar radiation using solar energy technologies can help to provide energy for activities and improve the standard of living for rural communities.

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