Worried by the shortfall of about 36,000 mega watts in the nation’s electricity supply gap, the Bank of Industry (BoI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) may have commenced the implementation of their solar energy programme, in a quest to aid improved access to affordable power through renewable energy.
Under the pact by the two institutions, $4.8 million is expected to be committed by the partners in the long term as part of efforts to reduce the gap in the electricity supply gap, especially in remote parts of the country.
With $1.6 million already committed to the project by the UNDP, the Bank of Industry (BoI), at the weekend, disbursed N75.8 million loan to two off-grid solar home system providers, Messrs GVE Projects Limited and Arnergy Solar Limited.
According to BoI, the facility, spread between micro-grid and Stand-alone projects in the ratio of N44.2 million and N31.6 million, would aid the implementation of micro-grid and stand-alone projects in six communities in Anambra, Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Niger and Osun States.
Similarly, the projects, which will be deployed in three phases with two sites in each phase, commencing with Niger and Osun States in the first phase; Gombe, Kaduna, Anambra and Delta States in the second and third phases, respectively, would aid the implementation of local content policy as local manufacturers would supply meters and solar home system components.
The Managing Director of BoI, Rasheed Olaoluwa, while speaking during the presentation of cheques to the two off-grid solar home system providers, in Lagos, at the weekend, said the project is starting off with the provision of long-term financing for the installation of off-grid solar home systems in six communities in a pilot phase, as part of its renewable energy partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), adding that these communities, with an average of 200 homes each, are located in Anambra, Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Niger and Osun States.
He pointed out that inadequate power supply undermine the country’s economic development as a nation, noting that economic life remains paralyzed in many rural communities that have been left outside the grid.
Under the solar power plan, each home will have sufficient solar energy to power three LED light bulbs, one electric fan, one Radio/TV set and access to mobile phone charging.
“These are the basic energy needs of the average rural family. What we are initiating is a commercially sound model for delivering power to Nigerian rural homes at affordable rates, to provide a long-term alternative to the problematic national grid.
“This is one of the main factors responsible for the often talked about rural-urban migration. Rather than wait in vain forever for the national electricity grid to reach them, there is a golden opportunity for our rural communities to be empowered with affordable off-grid solar home systems that are operated on a Pay As You Go (PAYG) basis,” he said.
He assured the GENCOs and DISCOs not to worry about the initiative, stressing that there is enough pent-up demand for energy in the cities and major towns to keep them very busy over the next decade.