This was the focus of the 2013 National Solar Energy Forum (NASEF) jointly organised by the Solar Energy Society of Nigeria (SESN) and the National Centre for Hydropower Research and Development (NACHRED), University of Ilorin.
The event which held at Unilorin permanent site with the theme, “The Role of Solar Energy in Climate Change Mitigation”, was attended by participants from all over the country.
In his address at the conference, the Director General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Prof. Eli Jidere Bala, noted that Nigeria had abundant solar energy resources, which should be harnessed to provide adequate energy and thus reduce the enormous use of fossil fuels.
Bala, represented by the Director, Energy Planning and Analysis Department of ECN, Mr. J.O. Ojosu, noted that while fossil fuels are generally associated with green house gas (GHG) emissions that cause global warming and its negative effects, Nigeria is promoting solar energy as an alternative source of sustainable energy that could contribute to achieving the target of Vision 2020.
The director general also explained the policy plans of the federal government in exploring alternative energy sources to solve Nigeria’s energy problems, calling for extensive investment in the development of solar energy infrastructure in the country as the way forward.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, in his address entitled ‘Zero Hour’, noted that the university, through its Department of Physics and the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, is keen about using solar technology to enhance research activities.
Ambali pointed out that NACHRED has also been active in the facilitation of solar electricity system on campus, adding that research is also being conducted into the possibility of generating power from the university dam.
“Therefore, if we are keen about development as we should be, the sun holds a lot of potential for us because its energy output is about 386 billion megawatts,” the vice-chancellor said, adding that, “if we ponder on the fact that the sun is the largest of about 100 billion stars in our galaxy, with a diameter of 1,390,000 km, consisting of 75 per cent hydrogen and 25 per cent helium, and that our earth, like eight other planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto), orbits round it all the time, we will pay more attention to its uses. This is therefore the zero hour to do just that, given the energy crisis facing Nigeria and much of Africa.”