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Nigeria Commissions First Hybrid Solar Mini-Grid

By Patience Chat Moses

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has achieved yet another incredible milestone with the commissioning of Nigeria’s first Interconnected Solar Hybrid Mini Grid in Toto community, Nasarawa State. This was done in collaboration with PowerGen Nigeria Limited and Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

In a statement, the Agency noted that the 352kWp solar hybrid mini grid project is a testament of renewed efforts of collaboration between the Federal Government and the Private Sector towards closing the electricity gap in Nigeria.

The 352.24KWP Interconnected Hybrid Solar Mini-Grid Plant in Toto is the first of its kind in Nigeria, designed to provide reliable, renewable electricity to a significant number of households and businesses. The project is in line with the Federal Government’s goal of achieving universal electricity access by 2030 and is indicative of the progressive strides being made in the Nigerian power sector.

The Interconnected Solar Hybrid Mini-Grids developed by PowerGen is the outcome of the World Bank Funded Performance Based Grant (PBG) Component of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP).

The mini grid is currently expected to provide reliable electricity to more than 2000 Households, 141 Commercial Users, 18 Productive Users and 45 Public Users in the community to improve the socio-economic life of the community.

The Honourable Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, described the 2023 Electricity Bill, signed into law by President Bola Tinubu, as a visionary policy enabling state and local governments, alongside private entities, to actively participate in the power sector.

Chief Adelabu who made the remark while inaugurating Nigeria’s first 352.24KWP Interconnected Hybrid Solar Mini-Grid Plant in Toto Community, Nasarawa State, stated that, “the legislative milestone has paved the way for projects like the Toto Mini- Grid project to electrify rural communities, demonstrating the administration’s commitment to socio-economic empowerment through energy access.

The Minister urged other developers to follow PowerGen’s lead in bringing electricity to the rural populace and appealed to the Toto community and the Nasarawa State Government to protect this crucial utility and ensure its sustainable operation for the benefit of all.

Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency, Engineer Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad stated that, “the successful completion of the Toto Mini-Grid project is a testament to the power of partnership and innovation in driving rural electrification in Nigeria adding that REA remains committed to fostering an environment which encourages similar sustainable and impactful projects nationwide.

The Managing Director of AEDC, Christopher Ezeafulukwe, highlighted that “our collaboration with PowerGen and REA in the Toto Mini- Grid project underscores the significant role of Discos like Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc in supporting renewable energy initiatives and enhancing the grid with sustainable energy solutions for underserved communities. It is a proof of what can be achieved when we work together, and we are immensely proud of this achievement.’’

PowerGen Country Director, Seun Edun, stated that PowerGen and AEDC partnered to pioneer a groundbreaking approach to improving energy access in Nigeria through an interconnected mini-grid model designed to cater to the energy needs of underserved areas at affordable tariffs below the associated costs of using petrol or diesel generators.

Toto community, with more than 2,800 households and businesses now enjoys electricity supply from the interconnected mini-grid which is projected to offset 1,920 MT CO2e annually.

In another recent development, the Agency has also commissioned a state-of-the-art energy management system control center capable of hosting all mini grids in the country, at its corporate headquarters in Abuja and conducted the groundbreaking of 900kWp solar mini grid at Rubochi Community, Kuje Area Council, as well as a 100kWp at Ikwa Ward, Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja under phase I of the Korean Energy Project.

This achievement is a testament of the Agency’s efforts aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation with foreign development partners such as the Korean Institute for Advancement of Technology and its Korean implementing consortium partners, Iljin Electric, S&D Powernics, Korea Smart Grid Association and Technology University of Korea under the Korean Energy Project. This reaffirms the Federal Government’s commitment towards increasing energy access to unserved and underserved areas across the country.

The Korean Energy Project seeks to establish an integrated energy management system capable of hosting all mini grids in the country and four standalone mini-grids with total capacities of 1.6 MWp and 3.0 MWh in 4 unelectrified areas around the Federal Capital Territories (FCT) as well as capacity building to technical skills.

Other auxiliary productive use equipment including smart metering, energy efficient lighting, water systems as part of the intervention. All the aforementioned are being achieved through an In-Kind-Grant.

The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, stated that collaborations like these will help bridge the gap between the served and the unserved adding that It is the belief of the Federal Ministry of Power that these projects will be delivered on time with the best standard for Nigerians.

The Managing Director/CEO of REA, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, stated “The milestone achieved under the Korean Energy Project is a testament of our resolve towards collaboration with development partners in delivering our mandate.