According to Vanguard, the Bank of Industry, BoI, has signed a $2 million agreement with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, to provide solar-powered electricity to no fewer than six communities in six states of the federation.
Vanguard reports that, the Acting Managing Director of BoI, Mr Waheed Olagunju, while speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, on cost sharing agreement in Abuja yesterday, said the bank would provide $1.4 million for the scheme, while the UNDP would provide the balance of $600,000.
Olagunju said: “This commenced in 2015 with a pilot phase in which the first set of low-cost, off-grid solar electrification projects were deployed in one community in each of the six geopolitical zones, in partnership with GVE Projects Limited and Arnergy Solar Limited.
“The pilot project involved the provision of long-term financing for the installation of micro-grid and stand-alone solar solutions in Bisanti community, Katcha LGA in Niger State, Idi-Ita/Onibambu community, Ife North LGA in Osun State, Kolwa community, Kaltungo LGA in Gombe State, Onono community, Anambra West LGA in Anambra State, Obayantor 1 community in Edo State and Charwa/Chakun communities, Makarfi LGA in Kaduna State. These projects were commissionedin record time between October 6, 2015, and May 24, 2016.
“The blend of BoI’s contribution in the sum of US$1.4 million as debt financing for the projects, with UNDP’s grant contribution of US$600,000 will provide the much needed stimulus to scale up the projects in view of the attendant reduction in the cost of deployment and enhancement of its overall viability,” he explained.
He explained that BoI’s contribution and the UNDP grant would be deployed to provide solar energy solution in states where both BoI and UNDP had existing collaboration.
In addition, Olagunju said the pilot project scheme in Gombe, Niger, Osun, Anambra, Edo and Kaduna states, was aimed at giving rural communities the opportunity to take control of their energy generation and also pay for only the energy used.
He disclosed that plans were underway to replicate the project in other off-grid communities in Edo State, in collaboration with the state government as well as other parts of the country, working with the various state governments.
Olagunju also stated that for Nigeria to meet up with its energy needs, it must diversify into the use of alternative sources as the country had some of the world’s most abundant and least exploited renewable energy sources, especially solar power.