FG Disburses $1.1m Grant to Boost Solar Power in Rural Areas

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By James Emejo

The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr. Ahmad Salihijo, said the agency had disbursed over $1.1 million to 12 solar power companies as part of efforts to boost rural electrification across the country.

This came as the federal government also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Output Based Fund (OBF) grant with seven private companies for the deployment of Solar Home Systems (SHS) to small businesses and power rural communities cut off from the national grid.

Speaking during the signing ceremony in Abuja, Salihijo, said the objective of the stand-alone SHS component was to help millions of under-served households and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) access better energy services at lower cost.

Under the agreement, the companies are also required to provide electricity to small businesses located in areas categorised as unserved or under-served in terms of power supply.

The firms which signed the MoU with the agency included Arnergy Solar Limited, Central Electric and Utilities Consortium, Cloud Energy PhotoElectric Limited, and Sosai Renewables Solar Electric.

Others included JV Solar Integrated Power Solutions Limited, Leadsun Technologies Company Limited, Privida Power Limited.

The REA Component Head, SHS, Ifunanya Nwandu-Dozie, said the firms were selected through a rigorous evaluation process.

She pointed out that the OBF was inaugurated in April, 2019, adding that till date the SHS team in partnership with the federal government had signed agreements with 12 companies, three of which was signed during the recent lockdown to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “We’ve also disbursed over $1.1 million to these companies who have sold over 105,000 systems spread across the 36 states in Nigeria.

“I am very pleased to see continued interest in this very prominent issue of tackling energy poverty in Nigeria. The Solar Home Systems team has been looking forward to this event.”

However, the Chief Executive, Arnegy Solar Limited, Mr. Femi Adeyemo, said the agreement would deepen and accelerate the deployment of SHS to MSMEs and individual homes in rural communities.

He said the initiative would ensure the provision of uninterrupted power supply in the homes of beneficiaries and businesses, adding that the firm had been able to raise about $9 million through equity investors to fund the project.

He explained: “We are very passionate about ensuring that our hospitals in Nigeria are powered and that we don’t lose lives anymore because of power outages at our hospitals and we want to ensure that we provide uninterrupted electricity to the educational sectors, our children should be able to study with uninterrupted power.

“We are also going to be deploying a lot of solar solutions to the hospitality sector because we believe that we are blessed in this country and people should be able to have vacation in the country.”

He said most of the systems being deployed will be basically to solve the energy concerns of MSMEs in the country.