As part of a move to facilitate Nigeria’s energy transition, a Nigerian bank, Sterling Bank Plc has launched a new digital platform called Imperium, targeted at linking solar power producers and power consumers in the country.

The Imperium Platform was launched following the unveiling of the Nigerian electricity industry report entitled, “Powering Nigeria: How Solar Energy can become a Sustainable Electricity Alternative.”

While announcing the launch of the platform on Monday, group head, renewable energy at Sterling Bank, Dele Faseemo, said the platform will offer various purchasing models and financing options for homeowners.

According to him, the available options will include an outright purchase of solar equipment directly from vendors listed on the platform, while customers can also get a lease-to-own option, where the bank can offer financial services at preferential rates to customers willing to lease a solar system and become its owners later.

The bank also said it has on offer another product through the platform where customers can buy solar power at a fixed monthly tariff; a situation where the photovoltaic (PV) installation is owned by Imperium and customers are only charged for the electricity.

The new service was launched as a solution to address the electricity crisis in Nigeria country. Sterling Bank cited a survey conducted in partnership with Stears Data that shows around 43% of Nigeria’s population has no access to grid electricity.

Faseemo said the Imperium Platform seeks to provide clean and affordable energy solutions to interested customers, while providing different financing options to customers purchasing the solution outright or paying for the installation and operation of the solution.

He explained that Sterling Bank, in partnership with Stears Data, the data collection, analytics, and data access division of Stears, embarked on the study to tackle the problem of providing solar energy in the country.

According to him, the report showed that despite the privatisation of Nigeria’s electricity industry, the country still has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, as 43% of its population has no access to grid electricity, an indication that 85 million Nigerians are not connected to – and cannot receive electricity from – the Nigerian transmission grid.

He said the Imperium would provide a range of purchase options to consumers because solar energy solutions are not one-size-fits-all, so purchasing options should not be either.

By Sunday Elom and Chidi Ekpewerechi

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