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Sterling Bank Champions Africa’s Renewable Energy Revolution

By Femi Akinola

The Sterling Bank headquarters in Marina, Lagos Island, stands as a symbol of groundbreaking sustainability, adorned with state-of-the-art solar panels worth millions of naira.

This landmark makes it the inaugural corporate building in Africa to fully embrace renewable energy, as confidently reported by Nature News.

The revolutionary energy system, known as Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV), enhances the aesthetic appeal of the bank’s Tower with approximately 6,500 Crystalline Silicon PV glass panels adorning the glittering facade of the skyscraper.

BIPV solar systems integrate solar power panels seamlessly into building components such as roofs, windows, or facades, contributing to both energy efficiency and architectural elegance.

According to Abubakar Suleiman, the Managing Director of Sterling Bank, the BIPV installation on the bank’s headquarters can generate at least one megawatt of emission-free power.

He emphasized that this initiative aligns with Sterling Bank’s commitment to five focal sectors of the economy: transportation, education, health, agriculture, and renewable energy.

In addition to the bank’s strategic focus areas, Suleiman highlighted that Sterling Bank’s adoption of BIPV is a testament to its dedication and contribution to achieving net-zero emissions.

It serves as proof that BIPV stands as a viable solution to Nigeria’s electricity crisis and the challenges posed by escalating fuel prices, which had previously incurred significant costs for the bank.

A recent investigation into the soaring fuel prices revealed a substantial financial burden on various industries and manufacturing companies reliant on heavy-duty generators for power.

These generators, notorious for their diesel consumption, were found to significantly impact production costs.

In the first half of 2022 alone, top companies and banks in Nigeria collectively spent N207.54 billion on generator-powered electricity, reflecting a 33% increase from N155.86 billion in the same period in 2021.

For instance, Dangote Cement experienced a 32% surge in energy costs, reaching N129.97 billion in 2022 from N98.97 billion in H1 2021.

In the banking sector, Zenith Bank reported a staggering 55% rise in generator fuel consumption and maintenance costs, amounting to N13.12 billion in H1 2023 compared to N8.45 billion in the corresponding period in 2021.

Similarly, Guarantee Trust Holding Company recorded a 59% increase in fuel consumption costs, rising from N2.37 billion in H1 2021 to N3.76 billion in 2022.

Consequently, the persistent high costs associated with generator-powered energy sources have prompted companies, including those mentioned above, to devise innovative strategies. They are now exploring alternative energy sources to leverage waste management solutions and reduce CO2 emissions.

Amidst global efforts to achieve a net-zero emission target by 2050, and in Nigeria’s case, by 2060, Sterling Bank’s embrace of renewable energy stands as a beacon of hope for the country’s energy transition. It sets a precedent for potential investors in the burgeoning green energy sector.

The success story of Sterling Bank’s transition from traditional power generators to the modern BIPV system signals a turning point for Nigerian companies. It urges them to embrace innovation and position Nigeria as an attractive investment destination for renewable energy.

In the coming months, it won’t be surprising to witness other banks, companies, and organizations following Sterling Bank’s trailblazing shift towards the BIPV solar system, marking a new era of sustainable power and environmental responsibility in Nigeria.

 

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