U.S. Ambassador Supports Solar Energy Partnership

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria W. Stuart  Symington participated in an event to mark the national rollout of Solar Home Systems through a partnership between a global solar energy firm (Lumos) and a telecommunications giant (MTN) that will help bring electricity to some of the most remote corners of Nigeria.

Power Africa, through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC),  provided $50 million in financing to Lumos to support the scale up of its off-grid solar power service to about 200,000 Nigerian homes and businesses.

With a single solar panel and small yellow box, customers in rural off-the-grid areas first pay a token deposit then a small monthly subscription fee through their mobile phones to receive power 24/7.

The event, which included Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Raji Fashola and Minister of Communications  Adebayo Shittu marked the national rollout of a new public mobile solar electricity service provided by Lumos, a global entrepreneur in affordable solar power, and Nigerian telecom giant MTN.

“This very simple solution in a clinic means the difference between life and death, in the home it means the difference between learning and literally having the lamp of learning go out for the night, and in a store, it means the difference between being able to pay your bills the next day, or having to do something else,” Ambassador Symington said.

Lumos became a Power Africa partner in 2015.  The company is committed to   deploying 15 million solar power systems in five years, which represents an installed capacity of more than 700 megawatts.

In so doing the company will create jobs through its partnership with MTN, increase rapid scale-up by attracting new commercial funding, and creating opportunity for small entrepreneurs in rural areas.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is the United States Government Development Finance Institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges. OPIC’s investment in Lumos marks its largest investment to off grid power sector in Africa.

Power Africa, a multiagency U.S. government initiative, brings together technical and legal experts, the private sector, and governments from around the world to work in partnership to increase the number of people with access to power. 

About USAID: USAID partners to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity. In its partnership with Nigeria, the United States strengthens social stability through social services, supports transparent and accountable governance, promotes a more market-­led economy, and enhances Nigeria’s capacity as a responsible regional and trade partner.