Bank of Industry, BoI, under the United Nation Development Programme partnership (BoI/UNDP solar energy programme) said it is targeting 100,000 homes installed with solar systems in the next five years through a combination of micro-grid and stand-alone solar home systems.
Already, six states of Kaduna, Gombe, Niger, Osun, Anambra and Delta have been selected under the pilot scheme with implementation starting with two communities in Niger and Osun States in the first phase.
This, according to BoI chief executive officer, Rasheed Olaoluwa, would move to Kaduna and Gombe under the second phase and third phase to cover Anambra and Delta.
Speaking during the presentation of cheques to the two off-grid solar home system providers in Lagos, Olaoluwa said the exercise was part of Renewable Energy Partnership with the United Nations Development Programme with an average of 200 homes each in the communities selected.
“Each home will have sufficient solar energy to power three (3) LED light bulbs, one electric fan, one Radio/TV set and, of course, mobile phone charging. These are the basic energy needs of the average rural family. What we are initiating is a commercially sound model for delivering power to Nigerian rural homes at affordable rates, to provide a long-term alternative to the problematic national grid,” he said.
To drive the programme, the BoI chief executive said two companies, GVE Projects Limited and Arnergy Solar Limited, had been selected from eight companies that responded to the company’s request in advertisement placed in five national newspapers in 2014.
“GVE Projects Limited is a winner of the Power Africa off-grid Energy Challenge, organized by the US African Development Foundation, USADF, the USAID and General Electric, GE, in 2011. In 2013, the company implemented a 6KW PV solar rural mini-grid at Egbeke, Rivers State and is currently implementing an 18 KW PV solar mini-grid at the same location. Arnergy Solar Limited specialises in the provision of clean energy to customers in the Bottom of the Pyramid, BOP. The company has implemented stand-alone PV solar systems in communities in Lagos and Ogun States,” he said
Olaoluwa said the intention of BoI is to give communities the right to control their energy usage.
“We want our rural communities to take control of their energy generation and to pay only for the energy they use. Our medium-term vision is to have 100,000 homes installed with solar systems in the next 5 years, through a combination of micro-grid and stand-alone solar home systems. This is essentially a programme aimed at poverty alleviation and rural economic development,” he said
He urged the generation and distribution companies not to worry about the initiative as there was enough pent-up demand for energy in cities and major towns to keep them very busy over the next decade.
“Inadequate power supply undermines our economic development as a nation. Economic life remains paralysed in many rural communities that have been left outside the grid for several years. This is one of the main factors responsible for the often talked about rural-urban migration. Rather than wait in vain forever for the national electricity grid to reach them, there is a golden opportunity for our rural communities to be empowered with affordable off-grid solar home systems that are operated on a PAYG basis.
“You will recall that PAYG technology was the magic wand employed by the telecommunication industry to drive the rapid growth in GSM subscription across Africa over the last decade and half. PAYG addresses two problems; firstly, the cash flow constraint for the customer, and secondly, the credit risk management issue for the service provider,” he said.
Also speaking, divisional head, Large Enterprises, Joseph Olatunde said with the programme, BoI should be able to reach a lot of rural communities where there are quite a number of medium and small enterprises that do businesses giving adequate supply of electricity adding that the solar energy project is meant to make tangible impact in providing affordable renewable energy solutions not to household but to good number of micro and small enterprises.
“By the time we finished rapidly, we should be able to move to other states. With initial cost of N3,000 for stand alone and expect an average daily charge of N50 for micro-grid, the stand-alone solar will be relevant there scattered houses but for micro grid is for cluster households with central source for the energy to be distributed,” he said
In term of the budget for the micro grid, Olatunde said it costs N44.2 million per community with about 200 households and for standalone about N31.6 million per community.

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