IEEE Smart Village, a global humanitarian program helping remote, energy-deprived communities build toward sustainability with renewable energy and technology, announced that its partner in Nigeria, Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Ltd., has received a US$675,655.40 equity and debt investment from the country’s Bank of Industry. To further support the investment, IEEE Smart Village will provide GVE with US$65,535.20 of matching funds as part of a seed-funding program supporting grant, bringing the total investment to US$741,190.60.
“GVE is humbled and grateful for the support from Bank of Industry in Nigeria and IEEE Smart Village,” said Ifeanyi Orajaka, chief executive officer of GVE Projects. “The funding represents 90 percent of the total cost. With this investment and support, the project will provide electricity to 200 homes in each of the three villages. Assuming that this pilot program is successful, then the Bank of Industry is planning to expand the GVE program to 200,000 households (more than 1 million people) in the next five years, which is delivering on the IEEE Smart Village vision.”
The funding will help the implementation of three units each with 24 kW PV solar-based microgrids in three off-grid Nigerian communities. In 2013, GVE implemented IEEE Smart Village’s portable battery franchise model to a Nigerian village through the installation of a 6 kW PV microgrid. The project enabled basic lighting, charging cell phones, powering small tools and entertainment devices and provided electricity for a health center. As a result, GVE was named a winner of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, an initiative launched by General Electric (GE) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF).
In addition to its recent grants and awards, GVE first found success in 2009 when it was awarded the “Outstanding Student Humanitarian Prize” of US$1,000 as part of the IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition. GVE was also awarded US$30,000 in the Bank of Industry/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) prize in May 2012.
“We want our rural communities to take control of their energy generation and to pay only for the energy they use,” said Rasheed Olaoluwa, managing director and CEO with the Bank of Industry Nigeria. “This is essentially a program aimed at poverty alleviation and rural economic development. Through this solar project, each home will have sufficient solar energy to power three LED light bulbs, one electric fan, one radio/TV set and, of course, mobile phone charging. These are the basic energy needs of any rural family.”
IEEE Smart Village is a donor supported signature program of the IEEE Foundation with the goal to deliver basic electrical and educational services to more than 50 million people by 2025. IEEE Smart Village is currently serving more than 50,000 people through local partners in Cameroon, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan.