As the Federal Government intensify efforts at solving the country’s energy crisis, a German finance group has offered to give support to Nigerian companies involved in renewable energy-efficiency projects.
Bettervest GmbH believes that adequate funding of the sector will boost public demand for renewable energy and reduce dependence on fossil energy, in addition to encouraging investors.
Addressing participants at a seminar on ‘Financing Renewable Energy,’ facilitated by the German Consulate General and the Energy and Environment Desk of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Lagos, co-founder of Bettervest, Marilyn Heib, said the organization would extend its financial support scheme to Nigerian business groups provided such groups are into partnership with any German business company based either in Nigeria or in Germany.
Marilyn whose presentation was entitled ‘Innovative Chance for financing Energy Projects – Crowdfunding,’ however explained that partnership with a German business group was a short-term condition as Bettervest has plans to deal directly with Nigerian businessmen.
According to her, Bettervest recognizes the huge commercial potentials that abound in Nigeria’s renewable energy sector. She said the German people through “Crowdfunding” are providing the funds “whereby the crowd contributes individual investments, with which renewable projects could be financed up to 100 per cent.” Bettervest has successfully funded renewable energy projects in Mali and Tanzania.
She told participants that there is no stringent conditions attached to the loans and advised interested groups to apply. Earlier, Winrock International Chief of Party, Javier Betancourt had in his presentation entitled ‘Renewable Energy Market – Constraints and Solutions’ gave a general overview about the renewable energy market in Nigeria, the current constraints within the industry and possible solutions.
He blamed poor level of awareness for the low demand for renewable energy in Nigeria. Other factors include poor quality of equipments, lack of incentives for consumers and developers, high upfront cost, lenders’ poor knowledge of renewable energy technology and lack of understanding of banking principles.
On how to solve low demand problem, Betancourt said there should be synergy between the government, developers, international partners and other stakeholders. In his presentation entitled ‘Financing Renewable Energy in Nigeria – Challenges, Opportunities and Prospects,’ the Head SME, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd, Olowo Olasunkami said Ecobank is committed to financing renewable energy projects in Nigeria, noting that “there are several potentials for renewable energy in Nigeria.”
While saying that Ecobank offers a flexible financing model, he advised companies and groups seeking bank loans to have adequate knowledge of the business before applying.
According to him, many applicants seeking loans do not have the technical capacity to qualify for such loans. The seminar is the continuation of five successful seminars on ‘Utilization of the Potential of Renewable Energy’ started in 2014 by the organizers.
By Emma Emeozor[sunnewsonline]