European Union and the Lithuanian government have awarded sum of N600 million grant to the Kwara state owned University (KWASU) Malete to install 300 kilowatt of solar power project in the institution.
The first phase of the project, which is 100 kilowatts solar power project, worth about N114 million was already being installed to improve learning and research activities, including social and security purposes.
Speaking with journalists during an inspection visit to the solar farm of the state university, the director, Centre for Sustainable Development, Professor Kajogbola Ajao, said that the grant was won through a proposal written and defended by an academic staff of the institution, Mr. Teslim Balogun.
Professor Ajao, who said that the university intended to produce five megawatts of solar electricity in the next few years, added that the aim is to phase out use of power generator and other high energy system.
The don commended the leadership focus of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Mohammed Mustapha Akanbi, who he said encouraged local and international sourcing of grant and creation of Centre for Sustainable Energy Development in the university.
“What the new VC met on ground was a system that have low energy component in power supply. Through the effort of the past administration, we were able to attract 240kw of solar system from tetfund, and another 60kw from Needs Assessment programme, making 300kw. One of the first thing the new VC did was to create center for sustainable energy to be able to aggregate all energy components and add to the energy portfolio of KWASU.
“One of the first things we did was to source for grant within and outside the country and the team had reached out to different funding agencies within and outside the country. We thank the government and the people of Lithuania for the grant worth 300kw of solar power system which matches what is on ground. Couple of weeks ago, we received 100kw from the 300kw approved and we promise to make better use of it to get the remaining 200kw.
“Our intention is to put KWASU on nothing less than 5mw of solar electricity. We are also looking at other sources of energy support like wind, bio-energy and some other areas of energy support. We aim to phase out generator and other high energy system.
“The intention is not just to support what is ground but to also ensure training of the students on solar energy system. We may be the first university in Nigeria to do that because as we speak we have about 3,000 students undergoing training on solar energy and system installation and operation. We are looking at producing energy entrepreneurs, CEOs of the future that will promote energy portfolio worldwide. This initiative will support teaching, learning, and security of lives”, he said.
Also speaking, the project manager, Centre for Sustainable Development, KWASU, who is also the coordinator of the UNESCO office chair on Alternative and Renewable Energy in the university, Mr. Teslim Balogun, said that the project would save the institution millions of naira spent on diesel to power generators.
“We are concerned about cleaner energy source. That’s why we sourced for grants to deal with renewable energy, greener solution, ways to mitigate effect of global climate change, ICT and rural electrification because solar panel is one of the energy sources around the world.
“I applied for the grant with all that’s required among about 1,000 people around the world and my proposal was approved in collaboration with a Lithuanian solar company and government.
“The project will benefit the university by bringing energy solution to the school at no cost since it’s a grant. Such facilities in the school like the street lights, school libraries, clinic, charging points, administration units will make use of it. It has a way of saving the school lots of money that could have gone into buying diesel for power generator. It also has a way of starting future collaboration with the Lithuanian government in other areas of development”, he said.