President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday commissioned the 10 Megawatt Kano Solar Power Project funded by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) with the sum of $16 million.
The President who was visibly excited about the project, expressed satisfaction with the quality of job done with the installation of the solar power plants.
He was accompanied on the commissioning by the governor of Kano State, Dr Umar Ganduje; the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Mrs Zainab Ahmed; the chairman of the NSIA Board of directors, Mr Farouk Gumel, the managing director/chief executive officer of the NSIA, Mr Aminu Umar-Sadiq and other top management and board executives.
The NSIA was appointed by the President as funds and project manager with a specific mandate to conceptualize, develop, construct, and operationalize a 10MW solar project on a 24 Hectare parcel of land in Kumbotso Local Government, Kano State.
Haske Solar Company Limited – the project vehicle whose name means light in the Hausa language – is jointly owned by the federal government, Kano State government, and the host local government – Kumbotso.
The project is currently the largest grid-connected solar PV plant and is a proof of successful mid-sized solar PV deployment in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, the NSIA MD said the project would catalyse growth in the power sector as it shows that renewable projects of this magnitude can be successfully delivered.
The project also builds Nigeria’s credentials in the fight against climate change and our commitment to attaining net zero carbon emissions by 2060.
The NSIA Boss stated that the 10MW Kano Solar Project offers significant socio-economic and environmental impacts.
In addition to providing access to clean, affordable, and sustainable energy to local industries and other consumers, Umar-Sadiq told journalists that it will increase industrial output by ensuring companies reach full capacity utilization.
The project has provided about 2,000 direct and indirect jobs to the immediate community.
The plant has more than 21,000 solar PV panels, two 6MVA transformers and 52 inverters, a state-of-the-art warehouse and storage building, a control room building, office and workshop building amongst others, and was built by a consortium of Eauxwell Nigeria Limited, an indigenous local contractor, and their international partners – Greencells Energy Middle East and Africa Limited – on a turnkey basis.
He said, “This project will truly be transformative to the Challawa Industrial Area which is the industrial area within Kano metropolis.
“We have heard extensive discussions in the course of developing this project and what was clear from speaking to the factories, the manufacturing plants and the facilities in that industrial cluster is it will enhance production efficiency, reduce production costs and in time begin to attract foreign direct investments into that cluster by essentially being the best place within this area cost wise to do business.”
He gave the cost of the project as $16m, adding that that NSIA took some steps to ensure it got value for money for the project.
Umar-Sadiq said, “The investment is about $16 million but NSIA did a couple of things to ensure that the money went further than what it ought to be.
“The procurement process was detailed, we focused on technical and money. So, through the procurement process, we managed to reduce the cost of this proposition.
“We also focused on ensuring we got the best Engineering, Procurement and Construction contractor that were able to be inventive and creative despite the constraints if executing such a project in Kano.
“And finally, through our Treasury Activities, the funds that were given to us, we found ways to enhance it to increase the returns on those funds that we also used in the cost of developing this project.”
The project also showed a strong commitment to improving the welfare of people in the community by providing multiple community boreholes to ensure access to clean water supply, renovating classroom blocks to ensure students have a conducive environment to learn and constructing a 2.07km access road to improve ease of movement in the community
Also speaking, the NSIA Board chairman, Farouk Gumel expressed satisfaction with the quality of job done by the project team.
He said, “I feel very happy. This is a turning point in terms of how Nigeria’s power sector future is going to play out. Its an interesting project that shows how mental capacity and physical will can deliver projects for the people.
“The NSIA was asked to manage this project and giving all the necessary support to implement this project and we have done the project and hopefully the impact of the project will be felt and that is what the greatest achievement is found.
“When jobs are created, when families are prosperous, it will lead to peace and stability and progress for the nation. I say well done to the team and we are proud of what they have done.
A Portfolio manager at NSIA, Aisha Abba Kyari said that the NSIA got 24 hectares of land to site the project, adding that the project will have transformational impact on the state.
Also, another portfolio manager, Yusuf Umar said that if the solar project is to power homes at an average consumption rate of three kilowatts, it will power about 2,000 homes.
For factories, he said it depends on the consumption rate, adding that the plant could power many large and small size factories.
He said the plant also will augment the existing capacity of the factories within the Kano distribution network.