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Nigeria’s first rural commercial undergrid minigrid has finally been installed in Mokoloki, a rural community in Ogun State.
The project, an initiative of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI); Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and Nayo Tropical Technology (Nayo Tech), with the support from the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) would supply power to no fewer than 230 households and over 60 commercial and public enterprises, including the local health center in the community.
According to experts, an estimated 40 million rural residents are underserved by the main grid in Nigeria, out of which, about 35 percent could be served by over 4,000 commercially viable undergrid minigrid systems nationwide.
Makoloki, the location of the installation of the pioneer project in the country has over the years, struggled with intermittent electricity access, just like many other areas.
Using a modular design approach, the solar-hybrid minigrid is initially providing 100KW of generation for an estimated peak load of 88kW, with an expansion plan in place for anticipated load growth.
The Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo, said the Mokoloki project demonstrates a financially viable business model that could provide electricity access to millions living in underserved rural communities throughout the country.
The Chief Operating Officer of IBEDC, Mr. John Ayodele, expressed optimism that by the time the project stabilises, Mokoloki would be like a town because it will have more regular power supply than cities.
He was elated that IBEDC was the first Nigerian distribution company to initiate a tripartite contract negotiation with a rural community as required for interconnected minigrids by regulation, saying, “We are happy with the Mini Grid Regulation.”
“Mokoloki’s undergrid minigrid shows how utilities, developers, and communities can collaboratively develop innovative power solutions, and this willingness to test new approaches has unlocked a new option for increasing energy access”, Principal at RMI,” James Sherwood said.