Sunday, May 8, 2016 9:29 pm
To ensure stable electricity supply in the institution, the University of Ilorin signs a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with an American company, Arrow Capital Solar Company, to produce 500 mega watts of solar energy
STEPHEN OLUFEMI ONI/ Ilorin
In its bid to ensure that the University of Ilorin has an uninterrupted supply of electricity, the institution has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with an American company, Arrow Capital Solar Company, to produce 500 mega watts of solar energy.
The project, that would gulp N600 billion, would commence immediately and is expected to be completed in October this year. The project is the first of its kind in the Nigerian universities as well as the subregion.
Addressing select journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital over the weekend while signing the MoU, the Chief Executive Officer of Arrow Capital Solar Company, Brian Travis, said the project, which is strictly private sector driven, was “an absolute demonstration of private sector initiative by the American company in Nigeria.”
Aside from the institution’s stable academic calendar, Travis said University of Ilorin, among several other universities in Nigeria, was selected for the project because of its strategic location, pointing out that the institution is an ideal location for solar power, especially that the backbone of the electricity distribution in the country runs through the line of the institution. Besides, he said his company was buoyed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement during his official visit to America that Nigeria was highly committed to solar power.
“The project is roughly N600 billion and is expected, when completed in about five months time, to produce 500 mega watts of solar energy.
” It is going to supply 10 percent of power to Nigeria; we have three major grids and with significant power we will extend to Lagos, Kano and other parts of the country. “
The visibly elated Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali, in his remarks, said the total electricity consumption of the university is four percent, adding that the company has made necessary arrangement to sell the remaining 496 mega watts to the federal government to boost power supply in the country.
He said: “We at the University of Ilorin see the project as an opportunity to contribute to the efforts of the federal government of Nigeria in terms of power generation and distribution.
” Again, we are looking at the benefits the University will derive from the whole exercise, among which is the constant power supply to our university. We cannot over emphasise the need for that because we have a lot of departments that depend on constant power supply, most especially our biomedical research. We recently commissioned a Centre for Research Laboratory and we have quite a number of research groups being encouraged to do research and we all know that we cannot carry out scientific research appropriately without constant power supply. “
To Prof. Ambali, the project would go a long way to encourage the graduate students of the university in their research to generate data that would be acceptable and comparable to others across the globe.
From the solar panel assembly plant that would be built by the company, the Vice Chancellor posited that this would afford their engineering students to have a state-of-the-art training and skills in producing solar panels, while it would also afford the institution’s entrepreneurship centre the unique opportunity to train the middle level manpower that would be needed to assemble and maintain such facilities whenever they are made available to the public.
He said: “The positive effects that the project will have on Kwara state, on Nigeria as a whole are enormous and we look forward to the fruitful completion of the project and its inauguration in October this year.”