By Favour Nnabugwu
The Bank of Industry has commissioned a 24kw micro-grid solar system in Charwa/Chakun, an off-grid community in Markafi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The commissioning of the N32 million stand-alone solar electrification project developed by Arnergy Solar Limited, was the last of the sixth pilot programme executed by the development finance institution, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.
Apart from Charwa/Chakun, other communities where the solar systems had been deployed include: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.
The six rural electrification projects, which are a combination of micro off-grid and stand-alone solar systems, cost BoI N240.6 million and the target is to provide electricity to thousands of rural dwellers who hitherto have no access to the national grid.
Under the stand-alone solar systems model, users are required to purchase electricity vouchers through a wireless mobile technology by from a local vendor employed the project developer within the community, which will be used to recharge the pre-paid meters provided in each home.
The Acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, said the project had had strong catalytic effects on the lives of the people to the extent that demands for the deployment of solar solution had increased across the country.
Olagunju noted that, for instance, Gombe State governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, had asked the bank to partner with the state to replicate the solar systems in other 10 local government areas.
“The governor has given the nod for the commencement of the project in two villages of the state and would soon be commissioned.
He explained that other governors, private organisations, multinational corporations religious bodies and community leaders had also approached the bank for the execution of the solar project in their select communities.
“In reference to the Charwa/Chakun project, the BoI boss explained that each home would have sufficient solar electricity to power three LED light bulbs, 1 eletric fan, 1 radio/TV set and mobile phone charging system,” he said.
On the significance to the rural community, he said: ”What we are implementing is a tested and commercially sound model for delivering power to the Nigerian rural homes at affordable rate. We want all our rural communities to take control of their energy needs by paying for only energy used.
“This is the sixth of the last pilot project that is being implemented in partnership with the UNDP. We have achieved our objective of ensuring that we sensitise Nigerians to alternative renewable energy sources that are more efficient, cleaner. Testimonies from the five communities where we have successfully commissioned off-grid solar solution are quite positive.
“Living standard has improved, quality of lives has been enhanced and commercial activities have equally picked up, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.”