Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The federal government of Nigeria, through its implementing agency, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), has inaugurated two solar hybrid mini grids in Akipelai and Oloibiri villages in Bayelsa State.
The agency said both facilities have a total capacity of 134.64kW for both communities under the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), with 180kWh of lithium battery storage and two units of 100kva diesel generator sets.
The Managing Director of the agency, Mr. Salihijo Ahmad, said the solar hybrid mini grids would provide clean, safe and reliable electricity to hundreds of people and spur economic growth in Akipelai and Oloibiri respectively.
According to organisation, the NEP is a federal government programme that seeks to provide energy access to households and enterprises in off-grid communities across Nigeria through renewable power sources.
The solar hybrid plants were commissioned under the Performance-Based Grant (PBG) component of NEP.
Renewvia Energy Corporation, a recipient of Performance-Based Grants (PBG) from the REA through the World Bank-funded NEP, successfully developed the two solar hybrid mini grids in Bayelsa state.
The 67.32kW solar hybrid mini grids in Akipelai and Oloibiri are estimated to connect 364 households, and in the course of developing the infrastructure, created 170 jobs in the construction phase and seven permanent jobs.
The mini grids utilise lithium-ion battery storage to provide reliable power throughout non-daylight hours and are designed to scale as individual household and communal power demand increases.
“The REA is committed to scaling up reliable and sustainable energy access to rural unserved and underserved communities through provision of grants to mini grid developers,which is the intent of the federal government through the NEP.
“After signing two Performance-Based Grant agreements with Renewvia Energy, we are delighted to see the completion of these two projects and we look forward to commissioning more sustainable electrification solutions in our rural communities by grant beneficiaries” Ahmad said.
The World Bank task team lead, Jon Exel, responding, said that the new move would boost businesses in the connected areas.
“The solar hybrid mini grids in Akipelai and Oloibiri will boost the local economy and improve the quality of life in both communities through electrification of homes, schools, and businesses.
“Through NEP, reliable electricity will be provided to unserved and underserved households, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and universities and teaching hospitals in Nigeria.
“The project’s mini grid component, specifically aims to develop solar hybrid mini grids to serve 300,000 households and 30,000 MSMEs with clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity,” it added.