Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), and Nayo Tropical Technology, have partnered to bring Nigeria’s first rural commercial mini-grid to un-served and underserved communities.
The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency, REA-supported project, powers Mokoloki Community, an area in Ogun State.
The project demonstrates a financially-viable business model that could provide electricity access to millions of people living in underserved rural communities throughout Nigeria.
In a statement, signed on Monday, the partners stated that the project would accelerate the commercial deployment of under-grid mini-grid technology in the sector.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), REA, Ahmad Salihijo, said part of the agency’s work is to create an enabling environment for private sector-led projects to thrive.
“What makes this project unique, beyond being Nigeria’s first commercial under-grid mini-grid in a rural community, is the social and economic transformation that the project ultimately brings to the Mokoloki community. I commend RMI, IBEDC, Nayo Tech, and all other stakeholders involved in carrying out this feat.”
On his part, the CEO, Nayo Tech, Anayo Okenwa Nas, expressed optimism that the initiative would boost businesses in the community, thereby making life more comfortable for the people.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of under-grid mini-grid development in Africa as a scalable and sustainable business opportunity with good social impact on our host communities,” he said.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), IBEDC, John Ayodele, noted that the distribution company is the first to initiate a tripartite contract negotiation with a rural community as required for interconnected mini-grids by regulation.
Ayodele said: “Mokoloki was struggling with intermittent electricity access and poor voltage quality prior to this project. However, its bustling market and proximity to main trade routes promised major commercial activity, making it an ideal site for the under-grid mini-grid. By the time this project stabilises, Mokoloki will be like a town. They will have more regular power supply than cities.”
Principal at RMI, James Sherwood, said: “Mokoloki’s under-grid mini-grid shows how utilities, developers, and communities can collaboratively develop innovative power solutions, and this willingness to test new approaches has unlocked a new option for increasing energy access.”
The statement also noted that the main grid in Nigeria under-serves an estimated 40 million rural residents.
“Of these, close to 35% could be served by over 4,000 commercially viable under-grid mini-grid systems. Nationwide, the revenue opportunity from these mini-grids is approximately N400 billion ($1 billion) per year.”