Business & Economy - Energy - News - August 3, 2021

REA deploying off-grid solutions to bridge rural electrification gap

MEDIATRACNET

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) says it has been providing off-grid solutions through the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP)  to bridge the electricity gap in unserved and underserved rural communities.
The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing agency of the Federal Government  tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities.
The Agency has the mandate to promote and co-ordinate rural electrification programmes in the country.
It also administers the Rural Electrification Fund (REF) which promotes, supports and provides rural electrification through Public and Private Sector Participation. 
Nde the NEP initiative, the covered beneficiaries include households, micro, small, and medium enterprises, Federal Universities as well as healthcare centres across the country’s six geopolitical zones.
The agency said it was providing the the solutions with the financial support from the World Bank (WB) and African Development Bank (AfDB) respectively. 
The NEP is a private sector driven initiative to provide grant subsidies under its solar hybrid mini-grids, standalone solar home systems and productive use appliance components to bridge the access to electrification gap, and stimulate load demand.
The Initiative is also to improve the means of livelihood of the consumers, towards making the mini-grid powered communities more attractive and viable.
While the World Bank and African Development Bank provided a total of $550million for the off-grid solution projects, another $213million was provided  for the mini-grid components of both WB and AfDB, $75m for the standalone solar homes system component of WB.
Also, about $205million has been provided for Energizing Education Programme (EEP) Phases II and III components of WB and AfDB, and $205million for the productive use component of AfDB as well as $37million for technical assistance.
The REA said the objective of the project was to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity access to a minimum of 2.5 million Nigerians, which equates to about 500,000 households. 
So far, the agency has signed grants agreements under the mini-grid sub-component with 13 companies for the deployment of solar mini-grids across 86 sites in off-grid communities.
Besides, seven solar hybrid mini-grids, with a total connection of 3,828 and 529.79kW energy capacity have been deployed and commissioned.
In addition, it has signed grant agreements with 26 companies under the Output Based Fund (OBF) sub-component of standalone solar home systems for homes and MSMEs. 
Again, REA said a total of 221,971 Solar Home Systems (SHS) have been installed in households, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as public facilities.
The other activities include the signinh of contract agreements with eight companies for the deployment of containerized solar hybrid solutions to power 100 Isolation and treatment Centre~s (ITCs) under the REA/NEP COVID-19 and beyond intervention programme.
The agency has already conducted community engagements in nine States, namely Ogun, Cross River, Sokoto, Niger, Plateau, Abia, Bauchi, Kano and Anambra, to sensitize and have community buy-in for the sustainability of the NEP mini grid projects.
It has also commenced preparations for the deployment of solar hybrid power plants in Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals under the Energizing Education Programme Phases II and III.

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