Watt Renewable Corporation secures US$13 million for Nigerian C&I hybrid PV projects

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The financing was announced yesterday (2nd October). Image: Watt Renewable Corporation

Canadian-headquartered solar-plus-storage developer Watt Renewable Corporation has secured a US$13 million investment to deploy hybrid corporate & industrial (C&I) solar solutions across Nigeria.

The investment came from Norwegian C&I solar company Empower New Energy, and will be directed towards solar and energy storage assets to support telecommunications and financial services operations.

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Watt said that it will add 8MW of solar and 14.2MWh of storage assets across an unspecified number of installations.

“With this funding, we are well-positioned to continue serving the telecoms industry with reliable, sustainable energy solutions,” said Oluwole Eweje, CEO of Watt. “Together, we will accelerate the transition to clean energy sources, benefiting not only Nigeria but the entire region.”

Watt said that it would hire local Nigerian workers in 100 direct and indirect positions in the projects’ development. The company’s existing operations are concentrated in Nigeria in a number of developing, under construction and operational projects, with some projects also deployed in the US and Canada.

Many of the solar PV projects deployed in sub-Saharan Africa, including those by Watt, are off-grid or connected to mini-grids. Whilst the projects themselves are predominantly small-scale, the volume of potential deployments is high and some mini-grid companies are beginning to reach scale and profitability, as PV Tech Premium explored earlier this year.

A January report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) found that off-grid solar PV in Nigeria has the potential to reach 21.2GW capacity by the end of the decade and 75GW by 2050, if the right policies are put in place.

Utility-scale has a smaller forecast, which speaks to the scale of impacts that off-grid, smaller projects can have in emerging economies with less established grid infrastructure. The key to greater deployments is going to be a revamped financing model, IRENA said, to make widespread adoption easier and more accessible amongst consumers.

Empower New Energy has operations across 12 African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana Egypt and Morocco. It specialises in financing C&I projects on the continent through 10–25 year off-take contracts.

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