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FG launches 20,000 solar-powered lighting systems for rural communities

The Federal Government has inaugurated the distribution of 20,000 solar-powered lighting system as part of efforts to provide electricity to rural communities.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo launched the programme yesterday at Wuna village, a rural community in Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja with the distribution of 200 units to the villagers in the first phase.

Osinbajo, however, said that irrespective of the importance of power to national development, it was not feasible for every Nigerian to tap from the national grid.

According to him: ‎”In September 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari spoke to me about what we could do to very quickly accelerate rural electrification.”
Osinbajo said: “We had in mind different projects that we could do to bring electricity to many of our rural communities and villages. He was particularly concerned as we spoke about farming and education in the rural areas.

“How would we be able to get maximum irrigation facilities, maximum facilities for education? How do we maximise these things if we can’t get power to those areas? Water pumps, irrigation equipment among others.”

“Renewable energy, especially solar power seemed to be the one that will be cost effective and that we could deploy very quickly all over the country. Once we took that decision we came across Azuri. We expect that this will be replicated all over Nigeria,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola is seeking private sector support at ensuring stable power supply in the country.

Fashola, who spoke yesterday at the handing over and commissioning of the second phase of 207kwp and 784 photovoltaic panel (PV) constructed by the Japanese Government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said the country’s energy supply is largely based on fossil fuel which is finite and fast depleting due to the increasing demand globally.

Represented by the Director, Renewable Rural Access Development (RRD), Abayomi Adebisi, he said: “I will like to call on private investors to look into replicating this achievement across the country.”

According to him, 14 private companies signed a power purchase agreement between the Nigerian Bulk Trading Company for the development of solar power plant across the country, stressing that the 14 solar PV power plant when completed will add about 1,125MW of additional power to the country’s grid.
Source: Guardian Newspaper

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