Two agro-based communities in Shendam local district of Nigeria’s north-central state of Plateau – Angwan Rina and Demshin, have been connected to clean electricity sourced from a solar photovoltaic (PV) mini grid.
Built by the European Union (EU), Germany and indigenous renewable energy firm, Green Village Electricity (GVE) Project Limited, the solar mini grid was completed and activated at the weekend in the two communities by the Governor of Plateau, Mr. Simon Lalong.
They both have the collective capacity to generate 100 kilowatts (kW) of clean electricity to power the communities which had reportedly been without electricity from the national grid.
With the completion and commissioning of the projects, OGN learnt that up to 2500 community folks are expected to have access to the clean sustainable energy from the mini grid.
In an interaction with journalists, the Managing Director of GVE, Mr. Ifeanyi Orajaka, disclosed that the two solar mini grids, with 50kW capacity each, were constructed at the cost of €681,000 which when calculated with the exchange rate of N356.67 to one euro from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) resulted to N242, 892,270.
Orajaka, equally said the project was done under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), jointly financed by the European Union and government of Germany, with 61 per cent of the cost provided by the public sector partners, and the balance of 39 per cent provided by GVE.
He said both communities were predominantly engaged in agriculture and associated services, and that the electricity from the mini grid solar system would be used to process produce from their farms.
Orajaka, also explained the systems were built with smart metering facilities with which the community members would pay as they use the electricity they generate.
He however did not disclose how much the community members would pay per kilowatt hour but noted that the communities will now enjoy stable power from the solar plant.
“Cumulatively it costs about €681,000 out of which public sector partners provided 61 per cent, while GVE Project Limited invested 39 per cent of the total project cost.
“We have very smart intelligence prepaid meters installed up the poles, which runs on a pay-as-you-go technology, meaning that the communities will use power on a pay-as-you-go basis,” Orajaka stated.
He added: “We are planning to very shortly increase the capacity of the system to 100kW each because this place is well known for its agro-based prowess. We anticipate some increase in demands because this will most likely lead to urban-rural migration as against rural-urban migration.
“Businesses and agricultural processing firms can now come here because there is stable electricity from this system. Community people will also enjoy power from the system to power their homes and run their businesses.”
According to the projects partners, the Angwan-Rina and Demshin solar mini-grid projects are among six mini grid projects implemented under the NESP.
They explained that altogether, these projects will provide electricity to over 10,000 people across five states of Ogun, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Cross-River.
Also, through the NESP, the EU and German government support the ministry of power and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s power sector to ensure that energy solutions such as the mini-grid approach are replicated and scaled up in the country.
They noted that an additional 100,000 rural inhabitants in several states across Nigeria will receive support from the programme until 2020.