IBEDC, REA partner to launch undergrid minigrid project for local community

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By Shorunke Tunde

The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Nayo Tech has joined forces to accelerate the commercial deployment of undergrid minigrid technology to local communities.

The Mokoloki project demonstrates a financially viable business model that could provide electricity access to millions living in underserved rural communities throughout Nigeria.

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer of REA, Ahmad Salihijo, said, “We are delighted to witness strategic collaborations geared toward accelerating energy access in unserved and underserved communities across Nigeria. What makes this project unique, beyond being Nigeria’s first commercial undergrid minigrid in a rural community, is the social and economic transformation that the project ultimately brings to the Mokoloki community,”

The Chief operating officer, IBEDC, Engr. John Ayodele, explained that, “By the time this project stabilizes, Mokoloki will be like a town. They will have more regular power supply than cities,”

IBEDC was the first Nigerian distribution company to initiate a tripartite contract negotiation with a rural community as required for interconnected minigrids by regulation.

The Chief Executive Officer of Nayo Tech,

Anayo Okenwa, added that, “We are excited to be in forefront of undergrid minigrid development in Africa as a scalable and sustainable business opportunity with good social impact on our host communities,”

Mokoloki, a rural community in Ogun State, previously struggled with intermittent electricity access and poor voltage quality. However, its bustling market and proximity to main trade routes promised major commercial activity, making it an ideal site for an undergrid minigrid, as explained in the newly released project brief.

This undergrid minigrid pilot embodies recommendations from RMI’s reports. Under the Grid outlines business opportunities for undergrid minigrid development, while Electrifying the Underserved expands on specific business models to guide project implementation. An estimated 40 million rural residents are underserved by the main grid in Nigeria–nearly 35 percent of whom could be served by over 4,000 commercially viable undergrid minigrid systems.

Mokoloki’s undergrid minigrid 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,

Using a modular design approach, the solar-hybrid minigrid initially provides 100 kW of generation for an estimated peak load of 88 kW, with an expansion plan in place for anticipated load growth. After three months of operation, it is serving 230 households and over 60 commercial and public enterprises.