It was an atmosphere of joyful reaction in Torankawa community of Yabo Local Government Area in Sokoto State recently as bulbs lit up across the agrarian households with the commissioning of a 60 kilowatts on-grid solar power plant.
Before last Tuesday, the people of Torankawa, about 45 minutes’ drive from Sokoto town, had only an inactive four kilometer power line connecting the community.
The dead service line under Kaduna Electric franchise area was out of supply for about five years, the residents said. The line was only revived under the grid-connected solar power project delivered by the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing after the place was chosen for the pilot project.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, before she commissioned it, said the plant was unique because it demonstrates the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration to improve electricity supply.
“I am aware that this project is self-sustainable and therefore will request you to ensure that you guard it especially against vandalism. This will encourage the development of many similar projects,” she said.
The Acting Director, Department of Renewable Energy and Rural Power Access in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Engr. Faruk Yabo Yusuf, who supervised the Torankawa project, said the plant will provide uninterrupted electricity supply to 350 households with 1,750 people benefitting from it.
He said: “It’s the first of its kind in Nigeria because all other solar projects are off grid project,” adding that the plant which connects to the national grid was a pilot one to test the mini grid regulation launched by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in 2017.
Musa Bello, a farmer, said it was a new experience as his house was among those that were metered under the mini-grid electrification project.
“I was told that I can only pay for what I consume and that the electricity will be continuous for 24 hours. I never knew that there can be something like that,” Bello said expressing his joy about solar power.
A provision store owner, Aliyu Yabo, said they had relied more on generators to power shops but the new project makes all the difference. He said: “We thank whoever initiated this project for us because our reliance on generators will now reduce and new businesses can spring up.”
The District Head of Torankawa, Umar Maishanu, lauded the Federal Government for providing a stable electricity source.
Maishanu said, “For five years, there was no light and the state government was not responding to our pleas until this solar power project was delivered. We donated the land and we promise that we will safeguard it.”
Shortly before the plant was commissioned, the faulty power lines were being strung and a transformer was installed at the plant where the solar power is converted into grid active electricity and transported through the lines
FASHOLA BRIEFS THE PRESS ON THE STATE OF PLAY IN THE POWER SECTOR NEXT STEPS AND POLICY DIRECTIONS
Hon Minister of Power Works Housing Mr Babatunde FasholaSAN middle Minister of State Surv Suleiman Zarma Hassan right and Permanent Secretary Power Engr Louis Edozien left during the HonMinisters Press Briefing onthe State of Play in the Power Sector Next Stepsand Policy Directions at the Ministry of PowerWorks Housing Headquarters Mabushi Abuja on Monday 9th July 2018
ACTING PRESIDENT YEMI OSINBAJO PRESIDES OVER FEDERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING
Left to Right Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun Minister of Power Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Minister of Information and CultureAlhaji Lai Mohammed during the Federal Executive Council FEC meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajoat the Aso Chambers State House Abuja on Wednesday 8th August 2018