Sokoto — The commissioning of an integrated renewable energy system in Danjawa village in Wamakko local government area of Sokoto State is putting the rural community in the trappings of a city.
Danjawa village in Wamakko local government area of Sokoto State is a typical Northern Nigeria rural community. The villagers depend solely on firewood for their domestic energy needs, because they are not connected to the national grid.
Well, all that may change soon as the village made history with the commissioning of the first integrated renewable energy system in the area last week. It was designed to integrate major renewable energy technologies to provide energy needs of the rural area.
The project, which costs N22.7million, is to provide a 10-kilowatt solar photovoltaic power system and four kilometer wind electricity turbine for the energy needs of the village. It will also cater for village's hot water requirement through the provision of solar water heater as well as a biogas plant for the cooking requirement of some selected households.
Many inhabitants of the village told Weekly Trust that with the new project, it was like moving from obscurity to limelight.
Danjawa, hitherto a sleepy community about five kilomtres from the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, now enjoys about 12 hours of power supply as claimed by the villagers.
According to Aliyu Danjawa, one of the villagers, the community gets electricity from 7pm till dawn. The people also expressed happiness with the choice of their village as the Sokoto Energy Research Centre's model village for the integrated renewable energy system. "It is heartening and has already started impacting on our lives positively," one of them added.
The Director, Sokoto Energy Research Centre (SERC) Professor Bagudu Danshehu said the village was chosen in recognition of its energy needs and the potential for renewable energy systems to function efficiently in the community. He said the village has an estimated average solar radiation of about 7.0KWh/m2/day.
Danjawa has an estimated population of about 1,000, and the people are predominantly subsistent farmers. The area, Weekly Trust learnt, also has large amount of animal wastes, because the people also engage in livestock production.
The project which was jointly sponsored by the Science and Technology Post Basic (STEP-B) project and SERC was, according to the director, implemented wholly by the SERC staff.
He said, "A 15-kw integrated system was implemented optimally for specific applications such as lighting, water heating, solar water pumping and cooking," adding that "the idea is to leave out fossil fuels that pollute the environment and deploy systems using PV, wind, solar, thermal and biogas technologies to provide the basic energy requirement of the village."
Five solar photovoltaic streets lights have already been installed at strategic areas in the village, which were said to be geared towards improving the security situation of the entire village and enhancing economic and social activities in the night.
Also installed at Danjawa were two 100kg solar dryers to assist the villagers dry their agricultural produce. "The solar dryer is noted to be more hygienic than the open air drying system, protects the crop from dust and contamination, faster and ensue the dried crop retains its nutritional value," Danshehu said.
Another facility, the 500-litre capacity solar water heating system installed at the village clinic, is said to provide hot water to its maternity ward.
According to designers, at an average solar radiation of 500w/m2, it will produce 500 litres of 60oC hot water per day.
For the biogas digester that will be fed with cow dung and other relevant wastes, it is to supply cooking gas to two neighbouring houses. The bye-product after getting the gas is also noted to be good manure that the villagers can use for agricultural activities.
The solar-powered water pumping system at the village, Weekly Trust heard from officials, was reactivated by the SERC to provide the water need of the village while improved wood burning stoves were also supplied to the villagers.
The wood burning stove is said to be an improvement on the traditional three stone methods of cooking. It is also observed to reduce consumption of fuel wood, cooks faster and is smoke free.
Many at the commissioning ceremony of a three-day international workshop on integrated renewable energy powered model rural village described it as a laudable initiative.
Vice Chancellor, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Professor Arabu Shehu, in a remark at the occasion, said it was an indication of their desire to bring meaningful development to the people especially those living in the rural areas.
"The situation in the rural areas of this country is that over 60 per cent of rural dwellers depend on fuel wood for their energy needs, it is estimated that over 50 million metric tonnes of fuel is used annually. This figure exceeds the replenishment rate through afforestation programmes. The domestic and commercial uses of fuel wood are major causes of desertification in the arid zones and erosion in mostly eastern part of the country."
He, however, expressed joy that the situation is being addressed by the Energy Commission of Nigeria through its renewable energy research centres such as the SERC.
The VC described the establishment of a model village as a welcome development. "The potentials of renewable energy, especially the long life span of its systems and very low operation and maintenance cost not minding the initial high cost of investment, have made them very attractive substitute for fossil fuels," he stated.
Prof. Shehu said under the integrated rural energy supply project, selected communities are assessed for renewable energy resources, energy requirement and available human resources. An integrated energy system is then designed that utilizes the available renewable energy resources to supply the energy requirement. He said for sustainability, the local human resources are trained to maintain the system.
For Sokoto State Governor Aliyu Wamakko, who commissioned the project, it came at a time of perennial power problems in the country and harped on the need to chart a new course for the people.
He said the renewable energy system was more efficient and more cost effective in terms of set up and maintenance.
Part of the recommendations in a communiqué issued end of the international workshop on integrated renewable energy powered model rural village was that local, state and the federal governments should pursue the establishment of renewable model villages as an option for rural electrification for the country while Public-Private-Partnership should be encouraged in renewable energy development in Nigeria.
The stakeholders note that the concept of integrated renewable energy model village will serve as a means of sensitizing both the government and general public on the applications of renewable energy technologies for poverty reduction through rural socio-economic development.