By Emmanuel Addeh
The federal government Tuesday continued its ongoing deployment of 19,000 Solar Homes Systems (SHS), with the inauguration of an 85KWP Solar Hybrid Mini-grid in Dakiti, Akko Local Government of Gombe State.
The power plant also consists of 100 solar panels, 96 batteries and over 4.5KM distribution network cables and is expected to serve over 1,500 people in the area with constant electricity.
Speaking during the event, the Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), the implementing agency, Mr Ahmad Salihijo, noted that the project has been successfully deployed under the First REF Call of the federal government’s Rural Electrification Fund (REF), an initiative designed to promote off-grid electrification and ensure that electricity is equitably distributed across Nigeria.
He stated that having been saddled with the responsibility of powering unserved and underserved communities across Nigeria using off-grid solutions, the federal government had taken the initiative to several states, including Kogi, Kebbi, Ebonyi and Akwa Ibom.
“It might interest you to know that through this first Rural Electrification Fund (REF) Call, we are ensuring electricity access across 12 communities and deploying over 19,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) across the nation.
“We have commissioned this kind of project in Kogi, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom and much more across the country. I can confidently tell you it is working and we will continue to do more.
“These interventions are testaments of the federal government’s resolve to improve energy infrastructure across Nigeria, especially in unserved and underserved communities,” he said.
He added that with the deliberate plan to power Nigeria, more communities will be energised across the country under the second Call of the REF as well as other REA programmes.
He noted that the intervention in off-grid communities was key to accelerating true national development as great opportunities abound in communities such as Dakiti, with the availability of sustainable and reliable energy.
Salihijo lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering support in driving the agency’s mandate that has continued to steer the process of transformation in the energy sector.
In his remarks, the Governor of Gombe State, Mr Muhammad Yahaya, explained that the project confirms the federal government’s agenda to improve electricity access to Nigerians.
He underscored the importance of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the implementation of the project, which he said will ensure clean, safe and reliable electricity in the benefitting communities.
“It is important to stress that the benefits of clean and safe and constant electricity will increase the income of the people in this community through improved business activities as well as improve productivity of the people while ensuring good education for school children.
“I want to assure you that the people of Gombe State will do our best to support not just this project but all electrification projects to ensure greater success and sustainability because the impact is already changing lives,” the governor noted.
He commended the efforts of the REA in providing reliable electricity to underserved and unserved communities across several states in the country.
He urged the benefitting areas to treat the project as their own by guarding it against vandalism and in ensuring prompt payments of electricity consumed.
“You should also bear in mind that other communities will be watching to see how you make use of the power plant and the constant electricity it will provide,” he stressed.
The Managing Director of the company, which executed the project, Leading Diagonal Engineering Nigeria Limited, Mr Abdallah Kasimu, explained that in delivering the project, the company made immense use of the the communities’ local labour force thereby training and providing them with employment.