By KUNLE KALEJAYE
In an effort to boost rural access to electricity in the country through Renewable energy, Schneider Electrics recently unveiled its vilasol solar energy system in Benin, Edo State.
Vilasol solution is a solar-power micro off-grid facility for decentralised rural electrification, which consists of a photovoltaic panel; a battery bank and a battery charging station that enable a communal recharge system.
The facility supplies domestic, entrepreneurial and community needs such as schools, health center, water supply, public lighting for up to 100 households without connection to the national grid.
Speaking at the unveiling of system at a one day Appraisal Workshop organised by the Community Research and Development Center,CREDC, in Benin Country President of Schneider Electric, Mr. Marcel Hochet, said vilasol is the solution to the electricity problem in the country, especially for the rural dwellers that are not connected to the grid.
“It is not an expensive solution to alternative sources of electricity especially if it is sponsored by NGO, Local and State governments. We are also coming to partner with the State government, Local governments and NGOs, to train local people to maintain the system as well as to manage it,” he said.
With an estimated 1.4 billion people that are not connected to the national grid, Hochet said, Schneider Electric is willing to corporate with local communities in order to provide clean, safe and renewable energy for them.
He said the initiative is to ensure that people in the rural areas have access to electricity, thereby reducing rural urban migration.
“Schneider Electric is concerned about people in rural communities across Nigeria, who do not have access to power. We understand this massive challenge and we are ready to bring our technology and solutions to support the initiatives aimed at extending power to the rural areas, he said.”
He commended the CREDC for organising the event, saying that the successful deployment of the solar system in-Diya in Odighi community is a further proof of the reliability and efficiency of the solution.
He maintained that Schneider is ready to partner with other agencies who share similar a vision, and is willing to meet with stakeholders to explore opportunities of developing and strengthening relationships. Just at it will sustain its partnership with CREDC to extend power to other communities in Edo State.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of CREDC, Mr. EtiosaUyigue, said the workshop was aimed at reviewing the deployment of In-Diya in Odighi, a project financed by the GEF small grants fund under the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
He said that between 200 and 400 people in Odighi are currently enjoying power even as the group has deployed the solution in about 40 homes in the community.
Uyigue thanked Schneider and UNDP for their support, adding that in view of the success recorded in Odighi, CREDC has developed plans to implement similar projects in other communities of the state.