Stories by Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has disclosed that about 3000 inhabitants of Kare-Dadin Kowa community in Kebbi State have been connected to a 98.8 kilowatt (KW) solar power system built with funds from its Rural Electrification Fund (REF).
It noted that it recently commissioned the 98.8KW solar hybrid mini grid power plant at the community in line with its commitment to provide equitable access to electricity across regions in Nigeria.
According to a statement from the REA, the REF strives to maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits of rural electrification grants, to promote off-grid electrification, and to stimulate innovative approaches to rural electrification.
It stated that the solar hybrid mini grid system would provide clean energy to 483 residential buildings, 82 commercial buildings as well as serve over 3,000 inhabitants of Kare-Dadin Kowa.
A total of 565 high grid solar panels, it explained were installed to power homes, businesses, places of worship, schools, and health centers in the community.
The statement quoted the Governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Bagudu, to have said at the commissioning of the project that: “The solar hybrid mini-grid will expand and transform the economic landscape of Kebbi state. Small businesses like welders, cold rooms, as well as processing mills can now operate more effectively with reliable and clean electricity as a result of this project.”
Similarly, Executive Director of REF, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare stated that: “Kare-Dadin Kowa community is the second of twelve communities earmarked to benefit from REF grants. This is due to following and attaining legal, regulatory and procurement compliance and no objection from the federal government.”
The statement added that in line with REF’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, it ensured that private sector participation and investment was involved to guarantee success for the project.
It quoted the Managing Director of Nayo Tropical Technology Limited which executed the project, Mr. Anayo Okenwa to have said that: “The installed solar hybrid mini grid was constructed in line with international standards and best practice. As an indigenous firm, we are proud to have leveraged the skills and capacity of our host community, in addition to providing the enabling environment for skilled labour and job creation.”
The Minister of Power, Mr. Saleh Mamman, who congratulated parties involved in the project, stated that: “Under my leadership, the ministry of power will continue to provide requisite policy interventions to ensure that transformative projects like this will have the desired impact of electrifying Nigeria.”
The REA reiterated that it was saddled with the job of implementing the federal government’s policy on electrification of unserved and underserved communities.
It added that the REF provides equitable access to electricity across Nigeria to maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits of rural electrification grants, promote off-grid electrification, and stimulate innovative approaches to rural electrification.
The REF projects, it explained are administered using PPP model, with its first call for project proposal expected to provide electricity to 12 communities and deploy 19,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS).