The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has begun installation of decentralised Solar Home Systems (SHS) in Makoko area of Lagos State, to bridge energy supply to underserved and off-grid communities.
Mr Salihijo Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer of the agency, told newsmen during an inspection to Makoko community on Saturday, June 17, 2023, that the agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Power had provided lighting to rural communities.
According to Ahmad, the Makoko SHS deployment is a project captured under the Federal Government’s National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy.
He said given the agency’s role in providing access to electricity for unserved and underserved areas, the role being played here was more of a social service to mitigate the environmental and economic challenges of the community.
He said the installation was in continuation of the implementation of the government’s Economic Sustainability Plan.
According to him, the inspection is part of a larger visit to the south-west region, with sites at Osogbo and Ijebu-Ode also visited.
“The management will return and access the impact of the projects so far.
“Stakeholder engagement (state governments, community hroups and end-users) will continue while all the feedback gathered is considered.
“What is clear even in the immediate aftermath is that using a de-centralised approach toward electrification of communities such as Makoko is the right approach given the difficulty of operating a traditional grid system,” he said.
Ahmad said: “We are here on inspection visit to access the solar systems that were installed six months ago in schools, hospitals and some homes at Makoko community.
“We wanted to test and deploy more decentralised system of solar of 150 watts to critical places like schools, hospitals and essential place to provide lightening for effectiveness.
“About 30 units of solar have been deployed so far and we are also planning to deploy more.
“We wanted to scale up the project but it is important to inspect the facilities and see the impact in the comuunuity.”
Ahmad said the agency was also mindful of the subsidy removal, adding that the solar project would also alleviate the suffering of people in the community.
He said the discentralised SHS would go a long way to impact positively on rural communities in Nigeria.
He said the project would enable schools, hospitals and household to power fans, bulbs and televisions.
According to him, the project which is part of the federal government’s initiatives to provide lighting is completely free of charge because it is an intervention from the government.
Mr Jeje-Aide Albert, the Baale (traditional head) of Mokoko Community, commended the agency for the initiative of bringing life to the rural communities.
Albert urged the federal government to do more in alleviating the sufferings of Makoko residents.
“We are grateful to the federal government through the Rural Electrification Agency for providing solar system to schools, hospitals and homes in Makoko community.
“We hope it will be sustainable. Makoko community has been neglected for years,” he said.
By Yusuf Yunus