The Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Implementing Agency – Rural Electrification Agency (REA), commissioned a 100KW solar hybrid mini-grid power plant constructed and operated by GVE, Nigeria’s leading mini-grid developer, in Akpabom Community, Onna Local Government Area. The project was co-financed by the Rural Electrification Fund (REF), impact investor All On, and the Akwa Ibom State government. The Akpabom mini-grid is the third to be commissioned under the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) and will provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable pay as you go electricity for the community members.
The REA Managing Director/CEO, Damilola Ogunbiyi, emphasised the Federal Government’s commitment to meeting its developmental goals by providing electricity access for all. Reiterating REA’s role, she stated that “as an agency, we are responsible for powering unserved and underserved communities, therefore, it is fulfilling every time homes, businesses, schools and medical centres are connected to sustainable solar power. Almost immediately, we are able to witness rural communities being transformed with clean energy through the jobs that are created during construction, to their micro and small businesses scaling to larger capacity thanks to reliable electricity.”
Wiebe Boer, the CEO of All On, a Shell funded off grid energy impact investment company, commented, “As a private investor, we are pleased to partner with the REA and the Akwa Ibom State government to finance GVE to construct and operate this commercial minigrid for the Akpabom community. These kinds of public and private sector collaborations make projects like this bankable and are the best way to close the energy access gap in Nigeria at scale.”
The Head of Oniong Clan in Akpabom, His Royal Highness Obong Barr. Samuel Johnson Efik, expressed gratitude to the Federal Government and the private sector developer and investor for providing electricity to their small community. “Our businesses are now fully operational; especially at night. Our fishermen are able to preserve their fish and businesses, in general, are growing. Today is indeed the beginning of better things to come for Akpabom.”
According to GVE Projects Limited Chief Executive Officer Ifeanyi Orajaka, “It is a thing of pride that GVE, an indigenous Nigerian firm, can be a part of developing Nigeria’s rural areas and growing the evolving off grid energy sector in the country. We are very grateful to the REF, our private investors All On and the European Union Electrification Finance Initiative (ElectriFI) for co-investing in our company, and the Akwa Ibom state Government for co-funding and providing tremendous support towards the success of the project through the state Ministry of Science and Technology ”
The installed Akpabom mini grid, comprising a total of 306 solar panels and a distribution network cable of 5.5KM, will adequately energize the community. In addition, fifty-eight jobs were created as a result of local labour. Akpabom Community now joins Upake (80KW) in Kogi State and Kare-Dadin Kowa and Tsulaye (98.8KW) in Kebbi State in experiencing social and economic progress thanks to the solar mini grid project under the Rural Electrification Fund (REF).