In a bid to leverage on the abundant renewable energy resources in Nigeria, the Bank of Industry (BOI) has begun off-grid solar electrification scheme in six communities in the country.
The project is in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aimed at breaking the jinx of incessant power outages and prove that indeed Nigeria can source its power from other natural courses.
The BoI/UNDP solar energy programme, which is being implemented in partnership with GVE Project Limited and Arnergy Solar Limited commenced the off-grid solar electrification pilot projects in 2015.
Coming as a pilot scheme, the projects were deployed in one community in each of the six geopolitical zones to demonstrate the viability of the solar electrification projects, subsequently partnering with various investors, other corporate and community based organizations, state governments with a view to replicating same in other off-grid communities in the country.
Some of the beneficiaries of the pilot project involving the provision of long-term financing for the installation of micro-grid and stand-alone solar solutions to rural communities include: Charwa/Chakun in Makarfi LGA, Bisanti, in Katcha LGA of Niger State, Onibambu in Ife-North LGA of Osun State, Ogbekpen, Ikpoba, in Okha LGA of Edo State, Onono, Anambra West LGA, of Anambra State and Kaltungo LGA of Gombe State.
BOI Acting Managing Director, Waheed Olagunju explained that it was in a bid to address the power supply deficit that the BoI in collaboration with the UNDP embarked on the implementation of solar electrification projects in the nation’s rural communities who are the most vulnerable segments of the society. He said the deployment of the solar solutions had boosted business activities in the affected rural communities.
He said: “ We want all our rural communities to take control of their energy needs by paying for only energy used. We have achieved our objective of ensuring that we sensitise Nigerians to alternative renewable energy sources that are more efficient, cleaner and sustainable.
“Testimonies from the six communities where we have successfully commissioned off-grid solar solution are quite positive. Living standard has improved, quality of lives have been enhanced and commercial activities have equally picked up, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.”
While calling on other stakeholders to leverage on the success stories of the solar solutions, the BoI boss noted that the bank’s medium term target was to have 100,000 homes installed with solar systems in the next five years through a combination of micro-grid and stand-alone solar home systems.
Speaking on the prospects of the solar energy, the Acting Managing Director of NASENI Solar Energy Limited, Dr. Jafaru Oshiobugie Mahmud, noted that apart from helping to shed the load on the national grid, its deployment in the rural communities would help in extending business hours and fore stall idleness induced insecurity.
The Chief Executive Officer, Arnergy Solar Limited, Femi Adeyemo, said that the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria had perfected awareness creation strategies targeted at Nigerian consumers, especially those living in the rural areas.
Apart from that, he explained that the association was also looking at bringing together professionals and solar experts that have the know how of the business with a view to fight quackery in the renewable energy sub-sector.