FG Powers 200 Homes With Solar, To Power 20,000 More
The federal government has initiated a rural-based solar electrification scheme by commissioning 200 solar powered homes in Abuja.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the commissioning of the ‘Beyond the Grid’ initiative Tuesday at Wuna Community in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) said the initiative sprang from concerns expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015 on increasing rural access to electricity supply.
He said the Phase I is focused on deploying the Solar Home System (SHS) to power 20,000 households within 12 months. Osinbajo also said the initiative will create more jobs beside proving electricity to communities that are not on the national grid.
“We will put more pressure on Azuri Technologies to begin local assembly especially within the communities where they are installed,” he noted.
The Managing Director, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr. Chiedu Ugbo said the project is being handled by his company and Azuri Technologies, a foreign firm with similar projects in Kenya and other African countries.
Ugbo said Azuri was engaged in July 2016 of which the 2000 households Wuna project was a pilot study of the 200,000 SHS to be deployed firstly in the North to cater to some of the 70million Nigerians not connected to the grid.
He said: “There are many Nigerians (estimated at 70 million) without any connection to the grid who still rely on rudimentary lighting systems characterized mainly by use of kerosene lamps, candles and petrol generators with attendant health and safety risks and indeed financial challenges.
“Under the first phase of the programme, NDPHC will deploy about 20,000 units of
solar home systems to the underserved rural communities.
“NDPHC has deployed 200 units of the SHS as pilot programme here in Wuna. The beneficiaries of the 20,000 units are among the already identified communities of the 19 Northern States. The units will be deployed within a period of twelve (12) months,” Ugbo said.
The NDPHC boss also said there is an auditing and re-activation of 1,073 solar powered boreholes of which two have been activated in Wuna community. The Chief Executive Officer of Azuri, Mr. Simon Bransfield-Garth who explained how the SHS works said it could power four bulbs, a radio set, and spaces to charge mobile phones for over eight hours.
Payment is made monthly for three years after which the system becomes an individual property, he explained.
The Azuri boss said the Wuna project is creating 500 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs. He said the firm is considering local manufacturing, and training people in the benefiting communities while providing platform to upgrade the system capacities.
The Chief of Wuna community with 800 households, Yusuf Isah relived the previous experience without power supply as he lauded the project.
He said five members of a household died from fire accident caused by the use of candlelight and that kerosene usage had twice caused fire accidents in Wuna.
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