Minister charges private sector to invest in production of solar panels

THE Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has called on the private sector to invest in the production of solar panels to solve the lingering power deficit in Nigeria.

He made the call while inaugurating an inter-ministerial committee on the utilisation of renewable energy in his office in Abuja.

Dr Onu said that one of the agencies of the ministry, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) had started the production of solar panels at experimental level in Karshi, Abuja.

The minister said the private sector could reap maximum benefits by investing and partnering with NASENI.

He further said that Nigeria’s closeness to the equator gave the country added advantage to utilise renewable energy maximally.

“We are happy to make our own contribution to solving the energy problem that has been confronting our nation for a very long time. Power generation, transmission and distribution is critical to the attainment of rapid industrialization of the country,’’ he stated.

The ministry, according to him, is also working assiduously in the area of renewable energy to close the gap of electricity deficit in Nigeria. “We need electricity to power our homes, businesses, laboratories and hospitals, particularly in rural areas,” he said.

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Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr. Bitrus Bako Nabasu, said the ministry in its drive to diversify electricity generation, was using renewable energy research and outputs of its agencies.

He added that the ministry was also collaborating with Ministries of Environment, Power and Works, Housing, Trade and Investment, Water Resources and the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

Nabasu further disclosed that the partnership would provide enabling environment for robust research and development in renewable energy technologies to domesticate and produce requisite skills for electricity generation from multiple sources.

Chairman of the committee and director in charge of Environmental Science Technology in the ministry, Dr Peter Ekwuzor, assured the minister that his team would work with commitment to ensure the actualisation of the mandate of the committee.

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