Shock Value

Shock Value

The Nigerian economy, like any other, experiences “shocks”— events or policy decisions that can send a ripple of changes through the system. This column zooms in on these ripples in a range of sectors to explore how and why these shocks matter.

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Spotlight on Solar

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi is an avid reader seeking insights in unexpected places. Her research interests include economic development, political economy and trade.

Erratic electricity supply is undoubtedly one of Nigeria's most pressing and persistent problems. This makes it an easy target for electoral campaigns: each year, we raise our hopes as we wonder whether the elusive megawatts will finally materialise. By December, dreams of better electricity drown in the now familiar roar of generators, leaving the bitter taste of diesel prices on our tongues. As recently as May 2015, the country experienced a near nationwide shutdown as banks and telecommunications companies struggled to fuel their operations due to petroleum product shortages. Nigeria's reliance on generators, founded on the unreliability of power supply, makes the economy incredibly fragile. Can solar power save the day? 

 

Power Struggles

To understand how solar power fits into Nigeria's electricity supply, we need to take a look at how the current system operates. Electricity supply consists of three stages: generation, transmission, and distribution. Power is generated in several plants, then transmitted through a network of lines and transformers that make up the national grid, after which it is delivered to paying consumers by distribution companies.

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