Renewable Energy: Financing agency partners Coy to empower members

The National Cooperative Financing Agency of Nigeria (CFAN) on Sunday in Abuja entered into partnership with Smarter Grid International to ensure inclusive growth and development of its members across the country.

Mr Emmanuel Atama, Executive Secretary of CFAN, said the partnership would help provide members with steady power supply to do their businesses and also train them on installation of renewable energy.

Smarter Grid is a renewable energy company that deals in solar home and business systems.

“We are here today with our partner, Smarter Grid International to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with respect to making renewable energy accessible to our members all over Nigeria.

“We intend to reach out to two million families, homes and SMEs within the next two years so that they can access this facility to improve and support their activities.

“We also are doing it in the spirit of inclusive growth and development with respect to financial inclusion.

“Because ordinarily some of our members may not have access to formal facility to enable them access things like this.

“But with this, we can profile them, process them and put them on a financial highway which is the banks so that they can be identified through their BVN and the transaction is executed

“It is not all about acquisition of the renewable energy appliances but how it supports our business to make sure that our business does not suffer in the event that there is no regular power supply.

“What we intend to do is to make sure that we train some of our members so that they can be part and parcel of the process to make sure that they also benefit in terms of employment from this process.’’

Atama said that the initiative was private sector-driven but expressed optimism that the project would get the support of government and other development partners to increase its level of access in the country.

“We have about 30 million Nigerians as our members and these comprise of various cadres but our ultimate goal is to ensure that no one is left behind; that it reaches everyone.

“The reason is because even those who are in established organisations, who are not self-employed, who are not in the hinterland, still need energy, they still need power supply.”

Atama said the collaboration would also generate employment opportunity in the country as interested graduates and NYSC members could also be trained in the programme.

The Managing Director of Smarter Grid, Heather Onoh, expressed delight at the partnership with CFAN to provide electricity to people at the base of the pyramid in the country.

“This will pull them to the economic foreground, make life better for them, increase their revenue in the process and ultimately get them out of the energy poverty cycle,’’ Onoh said.

On the training, she said about 2000 CFAN members would be trained as either installers or solar technicians and the training would commence in two months to allow proper planning.

She said the training would entail understanding the technological difference between direct and alternate current and how to install and maintain the product.

“It does entail fixing the product, connection, installation and understanding of the technology behind the product, the battery management, remote monitoring and the whole gamut.

“We intend for the training to take eight weeks because we have segmented it into different areas so that the trainees will imbibe enough knowledge to make it a part of their lives.’’

Onoh explained that after training/installation of the product, the participants would be adopted and given three years’ warrantee with provisions of after-sale services and tutoring.

She said that the product was affordable and designed to geographical specification such as solar fishing light for people in riverine areas and a cooling product for people in the north.

“Our mantra is affordable, accessible and sustainable and productive electricity for all; so our product is not a one size fits all.

“We have products as cheap as 1000 a month, so people can actually get electricity; sustainable, reliable, 24 hours’ electricity for as little as 1000 a month.

“In my opinion, if anybody is in the dark after hearing about this product, it is because they have chosen to be in the dark; we are going to go out of our way to ensure that it is accessible,’’ she said. (NAN)

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