In West Africa, the Nigerian financial institution for development, Bank of Industry (Bol), and the United Nations Development Programme have agreed to provide long-term financial aid for the installation of off-grid solar projects in six Nigerian communities in a pilot phase.
The partnership emerged after reports surfaced that thousands of people in the country are still not connected to the national grid, despite statistics indicating that 45% of the population is connected, local media Vanguard reported.
According to environment experts, Bol’s decision to fund renewable energy projects is in line with the policy direction of the present administration.
Off-grid solar projects expanding
Apart from the already commissioned 24KW micro-grid solar electrification each in Bisanti, a remote village in Katcha Local Government Area of Niger State, and in Ife-North LGA in Osun State, the project is to be replicated in four other communities.
They include Ogbekpen, Ikpoba in Okha LGA, Edo State; Kolwa Kaltunga LGA, in Gombe State; Onono, Anambra West LGA, in Anambra State; and Carwa/Cakum, Markarfi LGA, in Kano State.
The over 200 rural inhabitants in each of the communities that will benefit from the project are expected to have sufficient solar electricity to power three LED light bulbs, one electric fan, one radio/TV set and mobile phone charging.
The solar power system will be anchored on ‘Pay-as-You-Go’ prepaid technology.
Reduce rural-urban migration
Speaking during the commissioning, the Bol managing director, Rasheed Olaoluwa, highlighted that the rural electrification solution would help reduce rural-urban migration, and also help preserve the lives of the people as well as the ecosystem.
He said: “Those that are worse hit by the current electricity situation in the country are rural communities, especially the off-grid areas which have always been without electricity and have resigned to their fate to the use of kerosene lanterns, oil lamps and other types of dangerous and unhealthy sources of light to be able to live their daily lives.
“Firstly, the installation of off-grid solar home systems in the two communities will help develop the communities. Secondly, we can begin to see a slowdown in rural urban migration, and possibly a reversal. It is a model we are deploying in six communities across the six geopolitical zones.”
Micro-grid and stand-alone solar systems
Olaoluwa gave an insight on the bank’s medium term vision which includes the installation of solar systems through the combination of micro-grid and stand-alone solar systems in 100,000 homes in the next five years.
He also expressed his readiness to partner with state governments and private investors with a view to replicating the project in other communities across the country.