The GE Africa-USADF Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge is beginning to yield dividends as one of the winners of the inaugural contest; Green Village Electricity Project (GVE-P) recently completed the pilot phase of its off-grid community electrification project in Egbeke community in Rivers State.
The project currently produces about 6 KW of solar powered electricity, which it distributes to over 140 homes in the community thereby giving the residents access to electricity for the first time.
Chairman of Egbeke Community Development Association, Sir Roland Eberechi commended GE Africa for supporting GVE-P in bringing electricity to the community. He affirmed that Egbeke and its surrounding communities comprising of nine villages have never had access to electricity prior to the GVE-Project. While describing it as a novel idea, he added that the project has put the community on the map of Rivers State.
“Honestly, there’s nothing to show that we were part of Rivers State until this project. We have never had electricity here before now. But with this project, GE has put us on Rivers State’s map. That’s why we continue to thank the young man who conceived this project (Ifeanyi Orajaka) and General Electric that has supported his dreams to this far. We thank them for putting Egbeke Etchee on Rivers map,” he said.
Sir Eberechi explained that the project has touched lives in the community adding that the community is now the envy of its neighbours.
“We are proud to have this project in our community. It has added dignity and honour to our existence. We are now the envy of neighbouring communities. We are gradually moving on to take our place as community in Rivers State,” he said.
He stated that the entire community appreciated the project and is grateful to all who contributed in bringing it to fruition. However, as with every novel ideas and initiatives, he added that the GVE Project has come with its own challenges.
“As I said, it’s the first time my community is witnessing something like this. So, we are all excited. But as with every new initiative, everyone is eager to have a taste. Unfortunately, what we have at this pilot phase of the project cannot go round all the villages. This is generating a lot of problem.”
According to him, “What is being generated now could only serve two villages. It is just natural that areas not covered for now are bound to react. You need to see what happened the day they brought the equipments for installation. The whole community was elated and participated in setting it up. You can imagine the frustration of many after the installation; the project could only cover two of the nine villages for now.”
An optimistic Sir Eberechi appealed to GE and other well meaning organisations to further assist the community and GVE-P to move on to the next phase to expand the project to cover the entire community.
General Electric (GE) teamed up with the U.S. Africa Development Foundation (USADF) to launch the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy competition last year to encourage and assist African companies who are taking up the challenge to address the needs of marginalized African communities not reached by the national grid. The innovative power infrastructure development challenge provides a grant of up to $ 100,000 to each of the winners to support their initiatives.
GE Africa, a subsidiary of General Electric, Inc., delivers innovative technology solutions for regional challenges to help its customers support growth throughout the continent. In particular, GE Energy is providing a host of advanced solutions in water, oil & gas, and energy delivery technologies, with a focus on innovative localized energy solutions.