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Two federal ministries exit national power grid, deploy solar project

Amid poor power supply in the country, two federal ministries—works and housing, and environment and lands—have installed 1.52 MegaWatts solar systems that would provide uninterrupted power to their office blocks.

According to a statement by the minister of works and housing Babatunde Raji Fashola, the development would see to the reduction of average diesel consumption from 764,248 litres per annum to 166,825 litres per annum and cost-saving of N270,945,000 over 20 years, contribute to the reduction of government’s operational expenses as well as recurrent expenditure.

Fashola, who spoke at the commissioning and installation of the Solar PV and Micro-Grid Power system in Abuja, said the project was approved by the Federal Executive Council on March 20, 2019 at the time when the ministry of power was part of works and housing.

Read Also: Nigeria’s solar wealth can solve its gas-related power shortages

According to the minister, the project has led to the upgrade and retrofitting of electrical appliances by replacing 400 old air-conditioning units with 400 new inverter-based energy-efficient air-conditioning units; and replacing 2,600 old light fittings with energy-efficient LED ones, all of which are energy-saving because they consume 40 percent less energy.

“I express our ministry’s appreciation to members of the Federal Executive Council who voted to entrust our ministry with this project. What we have delivered, based on the mandate of the Federal Executive Council, is a 1.52MW solar system that will provide uninterrupted power supply to five blocks housing the ministry of works and housing and ministry of environment and lands,” Fashola said.

The project, he added, employed 382 artisans and 176 skilled workers throughout its duration, in fulfillment of the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of creating jobs.

Fashola urged other government buildings to follow this path, saying: “Our team will be most enthusiastic to provide support and share our experiences and lessons learned, working with the ministry of power.

Speaking further, he said: “With this investment, we have built our own mini-grid, in consonance with our administration’s policy to promote off-grid option, thereby making more of the on-grid power available to ordinary Nigerians who cannot afford the cost of investing in off-grid power.

“To our contractor, I express deep appreciation for the efficient execution and more importantly for the sacrifice to complete this project in spite of the wide disparity between the foreign exchange rates in 2019 when the project was awarded and now, notwithstanding high importation costs of the parts.”

“It will contribute towards the reduction of government operational expenses and reduction of recurrent expenditure.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented at the event by Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, said the solar grid project was in line with Federal Government’s pursuit.

According to the president, for many years, “our pursuit of electrical energy solutions has followed a single track of on-grid power until recently, when off-grid power became a focal policy pursuit of this administration.

The impact of that policy shift is that access to small scale and off-grid electricity is increasingly becoming available to Nigerians in marketplaces, universities, and business premises.”

This, he said, was the case with other parts of the world, adding that the initiative was as a worthy option for other agencies of government to consider.

 

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