Solar Energy and Urban Infrastructure in Nigeria

Opemipo Akerele
November 5, 2017

Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2017


Fig. 1: Picture of Solar Panels. (Source: (Wikimedia Commons)

Nigeria has abundant sources of solar, wind, hydroelectric, and tidal energy sources to address its issues in non-renewable energy. Nigeria lies in a region that has a great amount of solar energy potential, and in 2016 generated 1,850,000 GW h of energy in one year constituting over one hundred times the current amount of electricity it generates. [1]

Current Solar Energy Situation in Nigeria and Challenges

Despite an abundance of energy resources, Nigeria is facing energy crisis due to its inadequate energy supply that cannot meet the demands of its citizens. Overall, the most energy-consuming household activities in Nigerian are cooking, lighting, and use of electrical appliances. Based on estimates carried out in, cooking accounts for about 91% of household energy consumption, lighting 6% and 3% goes to basic electrical appliances such as television and irons. [2]

Historically and currently, the national energy supply in Nigeria is entirely dominated by fossil fuels. Renewable energy is incredibly underutilized despite their availability in reasonable quantities. Carbon emissions from domestic generation are greater than those from workplaces, buses and trucks, and pose risks to people's health and the environment with long-term exposure. [3] Thus, there is dire need for the implementation of energy efficiency in domestic building design and construction in Nigeria.

Though the Nigerian government announced plans in 2014 to fast track rural projects with wind, solar, biomass and hydropower; So far, only 64 MW out of 3,500 MW of small hydropower resources has been exploited, and most other projects have been small scale. Only 40 small solar off-grid plants were installed in rural communities from 2007-2012 (5 solar home systems (Fig.1), 6 mini-grids, and the rest street lighting systems). [4] 700 residential households have been connected to a mini-grid to provide lighting. [5]

© Opemipo Akerele. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] U. Vincent-Akpu, "Renewable Energy Potentials in Nigeria," University of Stirling, 27 May 12.

[2] J. E. Elusakin, A. O. Olufemi, and D. J. Chuks, "Challenges of Sustaining Off-Grid Power Generation in Nigeria Rural Communities," Afr. J. Eng. Res. 2, 51 (2014).

[3] N. Edomah, "On the Path to Sustainability: Key Issues on Nigeria's Sustainable Energy Development," Energy Reports 2, 28 (2016).

[4] M. O. Oseni, "Get Rid of It: To What Extent Might Improved Reliability Reduce Self-Generation in Nigeria?" Energy Policy 93, 246 (2016).

[5] "Best Practices of the Alliance for Rural Electrification," Alliance for Rural Electrification, September 2013.