All On Social Solar Initiative Powers Up School for the Blind in Lagos
As part of executing its mandate from Shell, addressing the gap in Nigeria’s access to energy through impact investing and the creation of an enabling environment for players in the off-grid sector, All On has continued to project the impact of solar across Nigeria.
Through the Social Solar Initiative, All On is supporting an intervention aimed at providing free solar products and services to non-profit facilities / organizations delivering key social services in communities around the country, while also creating awareness of solar power and building business opportunities for its investees.
One of the beneficiaries of this initiative is the Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Surulere, Lagos State, which is an initiative of the then Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Leo Hale Taylor, officially opened on June 16, 1962, as a special school for the education of the visually impaired.
A 5KVA solar installation has been completed by Arnergy Solar Limited for this school. Arnergy as an All On investee company, initiated and provided the 25% seed funding for this project.
Jane Onyeneri, principal of the school, says power is their greatest problem. “It has been very poor here because of NEPA not being reliable. And sometimes when we are working in the office the light will just go off and we must stop whatever we are doing. Sometimes we put on the generator, other times we just wait until NEPA comes,” she said.
NEPA was the government-owned Nigeria Electricity Power Authority which later reverted to a Power Holding Company before it was privatised in 2013.
The school produces braille books used by the blind, but they suffer from the constant unreliable grid power in the area. Sometimes due to power outages, their office goes days without operating as it should. While they try to meet up the power demands with a generator, it increases the cost of running the school.
This school is exactly the kind of charitable organization providing key social services that the All On Social Solar initiative seeks to support as part of our corporate social responsibility efforts.
Projects supported by the Social Solar initiative are proposed by Shell staff, All On staff and investee community with seed funding, while All On matches contributions for the full cost of executing projects.
“Since the solar installation, we have been enjoying it. The system powers our office, the computer room where we braille the student’s books, and the visitor’s room where our children receive their visitors when they come. This has reduced the cost of our power bills,” she said.
This is the first time Onyenenri is hearing about solar and she commended Arnergy for the work done. “At least we now have constant light to do our work and I can see it is reliable,” she added.
The population of the school is 140 with a staff strength of 48. This project is significant because the school survives solely on charity, and this takes off a huge burden from them as they enjoy reliable power.
Pacelli School for the Blind is among the many projects completed and funded through All On Social Solar Initiative across the country. One of such projects is the Home for the Elderly (Catholic Diocese of Port Harcourt) located in Rivers State.
Wisdom Chapp-Jumbo handles corporate communications and public relations for All On.