The Bank of Industry has said its recently unveiled off-grid solar home systems under the BoI/United Nations Development Programme solar energy scheme will last for a minimum of 25 years.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, BoI, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, said it was partnering GVE Projects Limited and Arnergy Solar Limited to drive the renewed solar campaign in the country. These two companies were selected from eight companies that responded to it Request for Proposal in 2014.
According to him, GVE Projects is the winner of the Power Africa off-grid Energy Challenge, organised by the United States African Development Foundation, the USAID and General Electric in 2011.
In 2013, the company implemented a six kilowatts PV solar rural mini-grid at Egbeke, Rivers State, and is currently implementing an 18KW PV solar mini-grid at the same location.
Arnergy Solar specialises in the provision of clean energy to customers in the Bottom of the Pyramid. The company, Olaoluwa said, had implemented stand-alone PV solar systems in communities in Lagos and Ogun states.
The BoI boss said, “We are starting off with the provision of long-term financing for the installation of off-grid solar home systems in six communities in a pilot phase, as part of our renewable energy partnership with the UNDP. These communities, with an average of 200 homes each, are located in Anambra, Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Niger and Osun states.
“Each home will have sufficient solar energy to power three 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.
“The power generation and distribution companies need not worry about this initiative. There is enough pent-up demand for energy in our cities and major towns to keep them very busy over the next decade.”
Olaoluwa said the BoI wanted rural communities to take control of their energy generation and pay only for the energy used.
According to the him, the medium-term vision of the scheme is to have 100,000 homes installed with solar systems in the next five 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.
The BoI boss said it was a well-known fact that Nigeria’s current electricity situation had been unsatisfactory and put the the total electricity supply on the national grid at less than 4,000MW, relative to the electricity demand conservatively estimated at 40,000MW.
He added, “For a leading African economy like Nigeria, with a population of 170 million people, this is grossly inadequate. Many Nigerians and Nigerian businesses that can afford it, have resorted to electric generators at a great expense. Kerosene lanterns, used largely by rural dwellers, are also dangerous, untidy and dim.
“Furthermore, the recent disruption in the supply of petroleum products needed to power these generators or lanterns, has exposed the unreliability of using generators or lanterns as a long-term alternative source of electricity. Not to mention the environmental/noise pollution associated with so many generators in our neighbourhoods and in our factories.
“From the foregoing, you can see that the national grid, as we know it today, is less than 150 years old, and powered by the discovery and abundance of fossil fuel, such as coal, crude oil and natural gas.
“Although the first industrial revolution was driven by an abundance of coal, the second industrial revolution was driven largely by abundant hydrocarbon resources. There is already an informed discourse of a third industrial revolution to be driven by digital/robotic manufacturing and renewable energy.”