Executive vice chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammad Sani Haruna, has drawn Nigerians’ attention to the growing importation of sub-standard solar electricity products into the country.
Haruna said it was unhealthy for the economy and the citizens as over 80 percent of such products being sold to Nigerians were overrated leading to system failure.
He therefore appealed to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to begin a five-year programme of retooling tertiary education workshops and laboratories nationwide with appropriate equipment.
The agency boss who spoke at the closing ceremony of NASENI Skill Acquisition Training and Youth Empowerment in Awka, the Anambra State capital at the weekend, declared that there can be no industrial development without a skilled workforce.
He said, “Solar system electric power supply is no longer news but part of the energy mix to meet the challenge of power shortage. Solar electricity is expensive and because of demand and limited know-how, all kinds of sub-standard products find their way into our market.
“NASENI has sampled many imported modules available in our markets and measured their exact output and can authoritatively state that over 80 percent of what is sold to Nigerians are overrated leading to system failure.
“NASENI’s manufacturing plant in Karshi has doubled its capacity to 21mw per annum and will be 50mw before the end of 2023 God willing,” he said.
Haruna said why the solar electricity system has either been failing or does not last in the country.
According to him, “Solar energy or solar electricity supply and power installation are different from electric power installation. An Expert in Electrical Installation who can “wire” a few lighting points and socket outlets is not necessarily qualified to install solar power supply. There is no ‘Do it yourself’ component in solar electricity. Technicians must be trained and be retrained for knowledge update.
“Failure to acquire skill and training for solar electricity supply is the root cause of most failed solar installations across the country. This is frustrating and discouraging to consumers, some of whom are considering the popular solar system as a myth instead of a reality.
“Some installations are a failure even before commissioning. No two solar systems installations are exactly the same even of the same size and capacity. Load survey, computation and analysis are on case-by-case basis.
In line with development in other parts of the world, the Executive Vice Chairman asked the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to put in place a five-year programme to retool workshops in the nation’s higher institutions.
He also recommended a compulsory skill acquisition course for varsity undergraduates, students of polytechnics and colleges of education.
He said there must be a modification or a substitute of the Entrepreneurship Programme of Tertiary Education that is of limited impact.
He said there can be no industrial development in any nation without a skilled workforce.
“Compulsory skill acquisition course is needed as integral part of tertiary education curriculum of National University Commission (NUC), the National board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) as a modification or substitute of Entrepreneurship Programme of Tertiary Education that is of limited impact.
“There can be no industrial development without a skilled workforce. We cannot continue to import machines, men and other equipment and in fact value added raw material for our industries and aspire for an industrial economy. Skilled Nigeria is most important of all components of a knowledge-based economy.
On the ongoing training of youths and artisans in the six geopolitical zones, Haruna said President Muhammadu Buhari designed it to “create a unique pathway to aggregate local inventors and innovators.