The Rural Electrification Agency has commenced the electrification of major markets across the country with solar powered systems.
According to the agency, the project is part of the Federal Government’s Energising Economies Initiative, which aims to provide efficient, clean and sustainable power to strategic economic clusters in Nigeria.
It said the EEI was to showcase the impact that would be derived with the provision of reliable power supply as well as the financial viability of the selected clusters to the private sector.
The Managing Director, REA, Damilola Ogunbiyi, disclosed this at the inauguration of the first phase of the EEI in Sabon Gari Market, Kano, where solar-powered systems were used to provide electricity for 500 shops in the market.
She named other markets to be captured in the scheme as the Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State; Somolu Printing Community and Sura Shopping Complex, both in Lagos.
Ogunbiyi, according to a statement from REA, explained that the Energising Economies Initiative was private sector-driven with the Federal Government providing project support.
She said Sabon Gari Market was one of the pioneer markets under the EEI, adding that the market had over 12,000 shops, out of which 500 had been electrified using solar energy.
The REA boss said power supply in the market was being provided by multiple independent petrol and diesel generators, adding that the market had been gutted by fire several times as a result of the generators.
Ogunbiyi said, “Arising from the foregoing, REA in partnership with Sabon Gari Energy Solutions Limited, a private sector power company, and Rensource Energy, have successfully connected 500 shops in the market as part of the first phase of deployment.
“These shops will now benefit from stable, affordable and reliable power during market opening hours. The decentralised solar system is equipped with remote monitoring capability, smart meters as well as durable and long-lasting lithium phosphate batteries to support night time load.”
She added, “Developing the first and largest virtual power plant in Africa is extremely exciting; when the project is completed, the 1.3 megawatts standalone solar system project will generate clean and sustainable energy to over 12,000 SMEs.”
According to the agency, the payment platform and collections were facilitated by Paga, through its local Kano-based agents as well as its digital platform to enable mobile payments.
It stated that as a result of this first deployment, over 100 skilled jobs in the clean energy value chain had been created, adding that the figure would increase as deployment continued throughout the entire market.
“The project is scheduled to be completed by Q4 2018,” REA said.
The statement quoted the Commissioner, Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Cooperative and Tourism, Kano State, Ahmed Rabiu, as saying, “This initiative will significantly eliminate fire incidents caused by generators that had plagued the market in the past. The use of solar technology together with the metering system installed for Sabon Gari Market is welcomed for all the markets in Kano.”
The Founder, Rensource Energy, Ademola Adesina, was also quoted as saying, “We are delighted to be an inaugural participant in the Energising Economies Initiative and for the opportunity provided to leverage our technology infrastructure, and operational capabilities towards demonstrating the viability of sustainable, clean and cost-effective provision of power for shop owners at Sabon Gari Market.”