The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has signed a 1.06 (about N381.6 million) grant document with the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to conduct feasibility study to deploy 1,370 solar power mini-grids in four states.
Speaking during the grant signing ceremony in Abuja on Friday, the Managing Director of AEDC, Engr. Ernest Mupwaya commented the USTDA for the grant saying, “USTDA has committed funding to help AEDC provide electricity to underserved communities through the implementation of up to 1,370 solar-powered mini-grids with energy storage systems.”
He said the N381.6 fund will drive a feasibility study on the projects that will be executed by Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Institute.
“We are going to be able to conduct a feasibility study that will identify specific opportunities for different areas so that we can ultimately have bankable solutions, which in turn can facilitate partnerships with other investors,” Mupwaya noted.
The Abuja DisCo boss who assured of the firm’s commitment to solving energy crisis cited the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2017 Report saying developing nations especially in sub-Saharan Africa have low access to electricity.
The report estimates 1.1 billion of people yet to be connected while another 1 billion is being supplied with poor quality of electricity.
Mupwaya added that the study which could be completed in six months, will identify optimal rural locations flung off from the national power grid, to deploy the mini-grid projects within Kogi, Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger states where AEDC service.
The Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa at USTDA, Heathier Lanigan said Nigeria has the largest market for energy in the region. On the grant to AEDC, she noted that it will help to electrify dozens of communities where over 1,000 solar energy system will be provided.
The United States Charge d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon said the grant funding which was also given to two other firms for 110 solar power mini-grids, and gas gathering project demonstrates the US support through the Power Africa programme for Nigeria to improve access to electricity in served and underserved communities.