As part of efforts to carry along rural communities in its incremental power plan, the federal government yesterday commissioned 200 solar powered homes in Abuja.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who commissioned the ‘Beyond the Grid’ initiative of the government at Wuna Community in Gwagwalada Area Council of the FCT said the initiative stemmed from concerns expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2015 on increasing rural access to electricity.
Osinbajo said Phase-1 of the project is focused on deploying the Solar Home System (SHS) to power 20,000 households within 12 months, adding that apart from providing electricity to communities that are not on the National grid, the initiative will create more jobs.
“We will put more pressure on Azuri Technologies to begin local assembly especially within the communities where they are installed,” he assured.
The project is being handled by Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) and Azuri Technologies, a foreign firm with similar projects in other African countries.
According to Managing Director/CEO of NDPHC, Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, 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 as 1st in the North to cater for some of the about 70 million Nigerians not connected to the grid.
“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 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.
Chief Executive Officer of Azuri, Mr. Simon Bransfield-Garth said it could power four bulbs, a radio set, and spaces to charge mobile phones for over eight hours.
He explained that payment is made monthly for three years after which the system becomes the individual’s property.
The Chief of Wuna community, Yusuf Isah, recounted the previous experience of life without power supply for the residents as he lauded the project, saying 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.