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Solar Nigeria has announced plans to build a rural mini-grid that will power hundreds of households in Nigeria after it reached an agreement with the Ode Omi community in Ogun state.
The Community Agreement, signed over the weekend, will see the company invest about half a million dollars to construct the 599 kilowatts grid – the largest rural mini-grid in the country.
According to the Country Director of Solar Nigeria, Tobi Oluwatola, the project when completed will electrify 634 households, seven schools, three hospitals, eight religious organizations, and more than 90 businesses in the community.
The project will be executed in two phases, the first of which will supply a peak load of 99kW to the community and up to 500kW in its second phase. It is due to be inaugurated by September this year.
During the construction period, the company plans to train and hire over 50 youth members from the community and security personnel from the village will be employed as well.
“Other benefits to the community will include free street lighting and better health and education outcomes as hospitals can have necessary cooling, heating and lighting solutions and children will have light to study at night. Women also would not have to travel long distances to fetch water and wood as electric stoves and water pumps will replace firewood and stream water,” Oluwatola explained.
Also, community recharge card vendors will be empowered to make extra money from selling prepaid meter credits for the mini-grid.
The country director noted that this project is the first of many to be constructed and stated that their goal is to build 100 mini-grids in the first year and also work with Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to build interconnected mini-grids that will supply previously underserved urban areas.
“We think that with solar today being cheaper than diesel (and gas in some countries), it is unconscionable that Nigerians continue to endure power cuts when we can aggressively deploy solar to solve the problem at scale. Our aim is to end energy poverty everywhere it exists,” Oluwatola added.