Earlier this month, the US Government handed over the completed and operational rural electrification Gbarnway Solar Electricity Pilot Project to the people of Gbarnway in Lofa County Liberia, reported Front Page Africa.
The project, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), consists of a 24 kilowatt renewable off-grid electricity system that will provide power to 152 households, five streetlights and five public facilities, including the community school and clinic.
Rural electrification benefits
During the handover ceremony held on 20 July US Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, said affordable electricity, such as the Gbarnway rural electrification project, can generate significant economic benefits by creating new opportunities for businesses.
Malac added that it is through electricity that pharmacies and clinics can provide a range of products and services that could not be provided without electricity and refrigeration.
Malac said the Gbarnway Solar Power Project represents a small but important step in the effort to provide rural electrification for Liberia.
“That is why I am also asking all of you in the Gbarnway Community and our Government of Liberia counterparts to demonstrate your commitment to manage and sustain this project,” the US Ambassador said.
She added that the United States Government, through its Power Africa initiative, remains fully committed to working with the Government of Liberia through the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) to bring electricity to all homes in Liberia.
Also speaking during the handover ceremony, RREA Executive Director Augustus Goanue thanked the US Government for the positive intervention in the Liberian energy sector.
Goanue noted that in 2009, USAID worked with the Government of Liberia to develop the country’s National Energy Policy.
Energy commercial development
He added that as a result of this collaboration, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had signed into law the act creating the RREA to promote the commercial development and supply of modern energy products and services to rural areas through private sector and local community initiatives.
RREA administers rural electrification through renewable and least-cost energy technologies and resources, including micro-hydro power plants, small biomass power plants, solar photovoltaic applications, and other mini-grid and stand-alone systems.
He urged the people of Gbarnway to properly maintain their newly dedicated solar power system so that it serves as a model for other communities across the country.