Two firms have signed an agreement to provide power to 25 communities across Nigeria using solar energy. The communities are in Bayelsa, Ondo, Ogun and Osun states. A Nigerian firm, Community Energy Social Enterprises Limited, CESEL, and its American counterpart, Renewvia Energy Corporation, signed a $767,512 agreement to provide solar energy for the communities on ‘pay-as- you-go’ basis.
The CESEL Managing Director, Patrick Tolani, signed the agreement on behalf of his company while Clay Taber, Managing Director of Renewvia, signed for his firm, at the Power Africa office in Abuja. The MoU signing was witnessed by Power Africa Coordinator, Andrew Herscowitz, and the United States Agency for International Development mission director in Nigeria, Michael Harvey. Mr. Tolani said the benefitting communities were those that had no access to electricity for more than 10 years, including Brass in Bayelsa and Magboro in Ogun State. Others, he said, include Ilajera and Gbokoda in Ondo State and a community which was completely cut off the grid because of isolation in Osun State.
Mr. Taber in his remarks said Renewvia would install and operate micro-grid systems with solar photo-voltaic generation capacity and battery storage in the 25 benefiting communities. According to him, the design of the micro-grids for the project will include PV panels, string inverters, aluminium racking and energy storage backup power. He said, “Renewvia and CESEL would sell micro-grid customers electricity by Kilowatts through a ‘pay as you go’ structure. “The competitiveness of the system helps to ensure payment, as the project would provide consistent and reliable power at a less expensive price than current rural power generation by diesel.” He added that Renewvia and CESEL also planned to facilitate the transaction through mobile payments, noting that the project would employ local and remote resources to support the needs of the power plant for each micro-grid.
The project was supported by Power Africa, a U.S. energy project initiated in 2013 to assist African countries in accessing energy. It is expected that the project would provide up to 10 megawatts and connect over 10, 000 households, according to a study by Renewvia. The project is also expected to be completed in one year. CESEL is a private Nigerian company that has led the community engagement for six operational micro-grid projects in Nigeria.
These micro-grids received funding through the Nigeria Bank of Industry and United Nations Development Programme. Renewvia is a private U.S renewable energy developer and solar power plant operator established in 2009. Renewvia specialises in providing mini-grid and solar energy solutions for residential, commercial and utility-scale applications. Micro-grid is a small network of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralised national grid but is able to function independently.