The REA Board approved funds to be used for the REF Call II award process. This would be used for both infrastructure and none infrastructure projects (Grid Extension, Mini Grids, Interconnected Mini-grids and Stand Alone Systems) as well as for innovative programmes that aligns with the REA Mandate. 51 Mini-grids would be developed and over 17,000 connections would be achieved.

The REF Research and Innovation Hub is aimed at building an ecosystem of partnerships with impact funding to stimulate innovative solutions/technologies, towards improving agricultural productivity and other socio-economic infrastructures (Health, Water, Transport, Education, Communication, as well as prototype devices and solutions that will address rural electrification challenges in rural communities of Nigeria).

The objective of the programme is to;

  • Bring together the skills and knowledge of diverse set of individuals and enterprises committed to addressing rural electrification challenges in Nigerian communities.
  • To nurture viable technologies/systems/concepts that are proven in other geographies by creating the enabling conditions to become established in the Nigerian rural electrification market.
  • Work with teams of innovators, experts, entrepreneurs and inventors, to co-create and refine ideas, which birth prototypes of processes and products to uplift the lives of rural people across the six geo political zones of Nigeria
  • Address key knowledge gaps within the off-grid sector that can spur scale-up of decentralised renewable energy systems for rural development.
Components of REF Call 2

Component 1: Concept and Technology Demonstration (CATD)

The aim is to support the establishment of alternative decentralised renewable energy technologies/solutions with proven application in similar geographies to Nigeria.

This component is divided into five subcomponents:

1. Hydro Mini-Grid Demonstration Project

A mini grid is a localised power generation and distribution network, independent to a national grid. Typically, mini grids are developed to provide power for remote and rural communities that do not have access to a national grid.  They can also be used to provide reliable power in locations where the national grid is unstable. Small Hydro schemes can play a vital part in these grids with the abundance of available resource.

2. Biomass Gasification Mini-Grid Demonstration Project

Gasification technologies provide the opportunity to convert renewable biomass materials into clean fuel gases or synthesis gases. These gaseous products can be burned to generate heat or electricity, or they can potentially be used in the synthesis of liquid transportation fuels, hydrogen, or chemicals. Gasification offers a combination of flexibility, efficiency, and environmental acceptability that is essential in meeting future energy requirements.

3. Solar-Powered Tricycle/Motorcycle

Solar-powered tricycles are modern forms of tricycles that are powered by electrical motors which get its supply from photovoltaic panels as a substitute to conventional tricycles that use petroleum as a means of energy. This is targeted towards the reduction of emissions and sustainable transportation initiatives. This is also a substitute for the recurring and expensive purchase of unclean fuels.

4. Stand-alone Cold Storage/Refrigeration

The cold storage would utilize solar energy to provide cooling to a containerized unit. The solar powered walk-in cold room is made of insulating cold room panels to retain the low temperature. Energy from solar panels mounted on the roof-top of the cold room is stored in high capacity batteries which feed an inverter which in turn feeds the refrigerating unit.

5. Mobile Solar-powered Irrigation systems

The mobile standalone solar-powered irrigation systems will target clusters of rural smallholder farmers and pump/channel underground or surface water to provide up to 3 planting seasons for cash crops. This will utilise electric water pumps powered by solar PV that are mounted on movable carriages to serve smallholder farmers on a pay-as-you-go basis. These are maintenance-free DC set-ups and operate in the day time without the need for battery storage. Software enabled micro-irrigation systems will be employed in order to boost yields and efficient water use and minimise the ecological impacts of irrigation.

The implementation plan being developed would be centred on the project activities, selection criteria, deliverables and timelines for this program. The approved plan will be the reference document for the program through planning, implementation and commissioning of the projects.

This is one of the key areas identified by REA for intervention with the aim to support the establishment of alternative decentralised renewable energy technologies/solutions with proven application in similar geographies.

Component 2: Start-up Innovation Grant (SIG)

This is another key area of intervention in the program which aims to bridge the funding gap and provide ecosystem coordination for off grid solution providers to ensure:

-- Access to seed investment in the form of grants, needed to refine and deploy solutions for entry into wider funding market

-- Nurture sustainable solutions, products, and/or technologies that would boost and promote business operations and stimulate socio-economic growth in rural communities in Nigeria

-- Access to a wide network of mentors, innovators, enterprises, and professionals that share passion and drive towards an integrated multi-layered support and feedback system

-- Promote and strengthen knowledge capacity through fostering knowledge sharing among strategic partners and funding agents. 

Component 3: Research and Development (R&D)

The third component of the REF Research and Innovation (R&I) is focused on Research and Development that aims to address key knowledge gaps within the off-grid sector that can spur scale-up of decentralized renewable energy systems for rural development. This component is divided into three subcomponents.

Sub-Component 1: University Challenge

The university challenge shall be an event where rural electrification related challenges be presented amongst universities in Nigeria. The purpose of the challenge is to enable the academic sector provide solutions to some identified challenges of the rural electrification programs, and offer innovative ideas or products, which speaks to the identified challenges.

This challenge shall be conducted in phases amongst universities across the six geo political zones in Nigeria. 

Sub-Component 2: Open Research Calls

The Open Research call is aimed to expose researchers to the research opportunities in rural electrification and renewable energy agenda. The call would enable the research communities to access funds to conduct and demonstrate researches addressing key questions on the challenges of, and funding options for rural electrification.

Click to participate in the ongoing REF Call for Research

Sub-Component 3: Student Research Assistance

The student research assistance component provides student researchers at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level with non-financial support to complete their research in topics of relevance to REA’s purview; this will be through providing access to REA staff, developers, project locations, documents/data and identification of knowledge gaps

Click to participate in the Student Research Assistance