Oil giant Total has announced plans to construct solar power plants in Nigeria as part of efforts to deliver affordable and clean energy to the people. This is even as its Nigerian arm, Total E&P Nigeria Ltd (TEPNG), also announced that it has started delivering gas to the Alaoji power plant located near Aba, Abia State through its Northern Option Pipeline (NOPL) since October 18.
Managing director of the company, Mr. Nicolaz Terraz, made these disclosures in a paper he presented titled “Harnessing Natural Gas: New Opportunities for Nigeria” during a gas producers forum at the ongoing Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) 10th international conference and exhibition in Abuja.
Total recently made significant diversification of its renewable energy portfolio after acquiring majority shares (60%) in US-based SunPower, one of the world’s largest solar panel makers. The acquisition has made Total very active in solar power even though there’s imminent competition in Nigeria with the recent signing of 14 power agreements by solar plant developers with the federal government to generate 1,125 megawatts (MW) of power to the grid.
Solar is a major energy resource in Nigeria from a geographical perspective. Analysts have projected that Nigeria could generate 600,000MW by deploying Solar PV panels from just 1% of Nigeria’s land mass. There is a ready market for solar power developers to operate in, in view of the huge demand for power supply, high population density, and the fact that solar power projects take less time to reach commercial operations compared to the conventional gas-fired generation.