All On, a Shell-funded impact investment company, and Auxano Solar Nigeria Limited have inaugurated a fully automated 100MW solar photovoltaic module assembly factory in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos State to boost local content.
Caroline Eboumbou, Chief Executive Officer, All On, gave a goodwill remark at the event at the factory on Friday in Lagos.
She said that the facility represents a significant milestone in the growth and development of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Eboumbou said the factory targeted reducing Nigeria’s dependence on imported solar panels, thereby driving down forex costs and creating economies of scale in the use of climate-smart alternative energy sources.
She said that the facility, financed by All On as part of its $2 million investment in Auxano Solar in 2021, was to lower renewable energy transition costs, guarantee quality facilities and potentially reduce the cost of solar energy for consumers.
She said: “All On has been there with Auxano from the early days.
“From a $50,000 investment in 2018 to a much larger $1.5 million investment in 2020 at the height of the COVID disruption, to an additional $500,000 in 2022.”
Eboumbou noted that All On and Auxano had navigated supply chain crunches, forex challenges, business development issues and the ups and downs of being a manufacturer in a tough environment.
She, however, expressed confidence in the sustainability of the company’s growth.
The CEO noted that the project marked a transition from Auxano Solar’s previous 10MW semi-automated solar panel production plant to a cutting-edge, fully automated 100MW assembly and production factory.
She added: “The success of Auxano as the first privately-owned solar assembly factory is a triumph for the promotion of local manufacturing within the Nigerian renewable energy sector.
“Our investment in this factory aligns with All On’s commitment to inspire other stakeholders, investors and government to localise the solar supply chain.
“Ultimately, this will drive affordability and accessibility of solar products, especially in the light of the growing interest in solar energy solutions among Nigerians.”
According to Eboumbou, the company’s growth as the first private assembler of solar panels is a success story that ought to inspire other players in the renewable energy sector.
She emphasised that in the initial stages, the company hired students from a local technical school who were trained by foreign experts, and as the first of its kind, the Auxano plant is expected to produce 150 panels daily, 3,000 panels monthly and about 72,000 panels yearly.
Osagie Okubor, Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria, who was represented by Hans Nijkamp, Shell All on Board member, said the Auxano project is a visual representation of what Shell hoped to achieve when All On was established in 2017.
Okunbor said: “With the singular goal of helping energy-poor communities in Nigeria gain access to energy by unlocking potential off-grid clean energy solutions.
“All On has made strategic investments to achieve this and we are proud that our support for All On has culminated in the commissioning we are witnessing today.”
Salihijo Ahmad, Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria, said the attempt aimed at localising Renewable Energy equipment supply chains by developing local manufacturing capacity.
He explained that the development was one of the key strategies to ensuring the security of supply of RE equipment for project deployment.
Ahmad said the project would foster local economic growth and provide decent employment opportunities for Nigerians.
According to him, the launch of the plant signifies the company’s steadfast focus on bringing such a landmark project to life, despite some contrary economic indicators.
He said: “All On and other stakeholders deserved commendation for supporting the project directly with funding, technical assistance, licensing, and other relevant business facilitation services.
“These collaborations are very key and more of such are needed to address the twin problems energy poverty and the climate crises pose.”
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State in his goodwill message delivered at the event said the assembly plant came when Nigeria was demonstrating serious commitment to the execution of the national energy transition plan.
The Governor, who was represented by Anthonio Ayodele, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, commended the two companies for the successful completion of the plant.
He said the decision to establish the plant in Lagos State was to deepen local technical knowledge and expertise in solar and renewable energy technology.
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, reemphasised the commitment of the government to transitioning towards ensuring universal access to clean, affordable and reliable energy, part of which is the state’s goal to deploy IGiggaWatts of solar PV solutions by 2030.
He said: “The commitment is evident in the various policies and strategies that we have put in place to create an enabling environment for the widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies.
“The establishment of this 100MW PV Manufacturing and Assembly Plant represents a significant milestone in our efforts to transform our energy landscape.
“It aligns with the central Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology (T.H.E.M.E.S) agenda of this administration.”
Sanwo-Olu, therefore, emphasised that the electricity generated by the solar facility would not only be a source of clean and sustainable power, but would also have a profound impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Afam Victor Ogene, Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Renewable Energy, congratulated Auxano Solar Nigeria Limited for the unveiling of the 100MW Solar PV Manufacturing and Assembly facility.
According to him, Nigeria suffers from inadequate energy supply and it is, indeed, worrisome that even in the midst of this obvious energy crisis
Ogene said: “The situation is made even more dire, given the frequency of national electricity grid collapse – two or three times within the last three weeks – resulting in total blackout in business concerns and homes.
He said: “Hopes of an early resolution of the problem appears far-fetched, at least not with the reality of decaying infrastructure and huge replacement costs starring us all in the face.”
He, therefore, invited Auxano, other players and stakeholders to collaborate with his committee to formulate policies and initiatives geared toward the acceleration of investment in renewable energy technologies.
Chuks Umezulora, Co-founder and CEO of Auxano Solar Nigeria, emphasised that the commissioning of the plant, being the first and biggest in the country, was a dream come true.
Umezulora said: “Nigeria may be behind on so many things necessary for development, but I am determined to be a part of the solution.
“This factory is my contribution to the growth of our economy and I hope my story of grit and dedication inspired someone to try something even bigger.
“Go for it, because you can.
“Spanning across an impressive 5730 square meters of land, the newly commissioned 100MW premium PV module assembly factory integrates production, warehousing and office spaces.
“Equipped with advanced Asian-certified production equipment, the facility is designed to manufacture high-quality PV modules known for their efficiency, durability and adaptability to various weather conditions.”
The CEO of Auxano, therefore, stated that the factory had employed a substantial local workforce to oversee its operations.
He noted a significant portion of the factory’s power supply was generated by Auxano solar panels.
Demola Onanuga, the Chairman of Auxano Solar, on his part said the formal take-off of the assembly plan would close the deficit in electricity accessibility in the country.
He stated that the 100MW module assembly factory would help to reduce the unit rate of solar power in Nigeria and make it affordable for households and businesses.
Onanuga, therefore, assured of Auxano’s readiness to meet the growing demand for solar panels in Nigeria, adding that the company was already in talks with partners to expand the factory capacity and establish more in different parts of the country.