The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided solar-power energy for five rural communities in Bwari Area Council in the FCT.
The benefitting communities are Tokulo, Zhiko, Sunape, Youpe and Goipe.
The gesture came under the “Expanding Access to Off-Grid Renewable Energy (Solar and Biomass) Based Sustainable Energy for All,’’ a project initiated by the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN).
Prof. Eli Bala, Director General, ECN, said the UNDP provided the fund for the project, while the commission supervised the implementation.
Bala, who spoke to newsmen after a two-day inspection tour of the communities, said the objective was to utilize in-situ (local) renewable energy sources to provide basic needs for the communities.
He listed those needs as lighting, cooking, heating, water pump and health care delivery.
“These rural communities are not grid-connected and even those which are grid-connected; supply is epileptic and not regular to sustain a good standard of living.
“Fortunately, these areas are endowed with some energy sources referred to as renewable energy, like the sun, wind and the biomass’’ (plant-based materials).
“They can utilise these with modern technology to enhance their standard of living.
“What we did in these villages in Bwari Area Council is to provide them with clean water supply from underground through solar energy,’’ Bala said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that under the initiative, 400 solar home systems were installed in each community to provide lighting for every household.
It would also enable the residents recharge their handset, while 14 solar street lightings were also installed in each village.
Also, Primary Health centres in the five communities were not left out as solar power voltages were installed to provide electricity to run their vaccines refrigerators and provide lighting for them.
Similarly, each community was provided with solar-powered water supply borehole with 10,000 litres storage tank.
Bala said: “Remember that the entire world is now changing from Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The MDGs has so many goals, health, infant mortality and others but to drive this, energy is required and energy was never a goal in the MDGs.’’
NAN also reports that under the initiative, the commission designed and installed 400 clay-based efficient woodstoves in every household in those communities.
Bala explained that the commission’s research centre in Sokoto state designed the improve woodstove.
According to him, over 65 per cent of the energy utilise in this country is for cooking and it is derive from biomass which is from the forest.
“Now substitute has not yet been provided, so we cannot stop people from cutting the forest as a source of fuel.
“We know the effect of cutting the forest, it increases desertification and erosion.
“So, the best we can do for our people now is to provide them with cook stoves that are efficient and readily available.
“That which they can manipulate by themselves, not high technology cook stoves and by this, we just modify the conventional clay type,’’ he said.