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Solar Energy: New power source in Jigawa (Nigeria)

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-10-07 03:59 PM
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Solar Energy: New power source in Jigawa (Nigeria)


In very few places has PV been used to address virtually all of the things that a community needs energy for. But thats what we decided to do and we were going to do it in three villages where over 7,500 people would benefit from the results. Having a reliable water supply is the first priority of any village and this is especially true in the semi-desert of Jigawa State where there are few rivers or other sources of water on the surface of the land. Typical methods of getting water range from open wells with rope and bucket, to hand pumps, to government supplied diesel-powered pumps that work only until they break down or until villagers run out of money to buy the expensive diesel fuel. The powerful solar-powered pumps supplied with this project are designed to run maintenance-free for eight to ten years or more.

The village health clinics now benefit from solar energy. Lights enable health officers to see patients at night for the first time, vaccine refrigerators allow more people to be vaccinated at greater frequency and fans increase the comfort level of staff and patients alike. Village primary schools now have, at least, two illuminated classrooms and teachers report that they are being heavily used in the evenings for adult education and as places for children to come and do their lessons. Each school has also been provided with a computer and computer instruction for the teachers. These are the first computers in the project villages and there are plans to eventually hook them to the internet via the states broadband system a process that can literally open the village to the rest of the world for healthcare, education and commerce.

Streetlights are among the most valued PV systems used by the villagers. In such a hot climate where people enjoy the cool of the evening, a great deal of business and socializing take place after sunset. Streetlights now give people bright places to congregate. Several new food-selling businesses are now open for business beneath the lights at these new market locations. Villagers also appreciate having electricity in their mosques. Lighting makes nighttime activities possible and public address systems facilitate the call to prayer five times each day. The solar-powered micro-enterprise buildings are the project centrepieces in each village. Each centre provides electricity to six very small businesses that would otherwise not have access to electricity. The shared PV system, much less expensive than individual systems for each shop, allows tailors to move up from manual sewing machines to electric, barbers, from manual clippers to electric, and similar improvements in productivity for other types of businesses.

This project has introduced home lighting systems to each village. Compared to the kerosene lights that they replace, solar lighting offers a better light without the inherent fumes and fire danger of the old lamps. System users report that it is now easier for children to do their studies and home businesses are thriving under the better lighting conditions. And of course, families appreciate going about their normal activities with good lighting. With about 20 systems in each village, we have created demand and a great deal of interest in home systems. JAEF will be able to continue electrifying houses using a micro-credit scheme where the payments for each system will accumulate to purchase additional systems for more homes.

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