The Rural Electrification Agency, REA, has begun installation of decentralised Solar Home Systems (SHS) in the Makoko area of Lagos State to bridge energy supply to underserved and off-grid communities.
According to NAN, Mr Salihijo Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer of the agency, said this on Saturday at the inspection of the Makoko community.
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 under-served 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 continued the implementation of the government’s Economic Sustainability Plan.
According to him, the inspection is part of a more extensive visit to the southwest region, with sites at Osogbo and Ijebu-Ode also visited.
“The management will return and assess the impact of the projects so far.
“Stakeholder engagement (state governments, community groups and end-users) will continue while all the feedback gathered is considered.
“What is evident even in the immediate aftermath is that using a decentralised approach toward electrification of communities such as Makoko is the right approach given the difficulty of operating a traditional grid system.
“We are here on an inspection visit to access the solar systems that were installed six months ago in schools, hospitals and some homes in the Makoko community.
“We wanted to test and deploy a more decentralised solar system of 150 watts to critical places like schools, hospitals and essential places to provide lightening for effectiveness.
“About 30 solar units have been deployed so far, and we plan to deploy more.
“We wanted to scale up the project, but it is important to inspect the facilities and see the impact in the community,” he added.
Ahmad said the agency was also mindful of the subsidy removal, adding that the solar project would alleviate the suffering of people in the community.
He said the decentralised SHS would go a long way to impact rural communities in Nigeria positively.
He said the project would enable schools, hospitals and households to power fans, bulbs and televisions.
Mr Jeje-Aide Albert, the Baale (traditional head) of the Mokoko Community, said the community was excited at the development.
He lauded the agency for bringing life to rural communities.
Albert urged the Federal Government to do more to alleviate the suffering of Makoko residents.
“We are grateful to the Federal Government, through the Rural Electrification Agency, for providing solar systems to schools, hospitals and homes in the Makoko community.
“We hope it will be sustainable. The Makoko community has been neglected for years,” he said.