Traders at Shimankar Community Market

How energy access is changing the lives of over 1900 households in the Shimankar

In December 2020, a 234 KW solar hybrid mini grid power plant was commissioned in Shimankar Community, Shendam Local Government Area in Plateau State. The installment has changed the lives of people in over 1,900 households.

By Adaobi Oniwinde on Mar 31, 2021

“We now have power 24 hours a day. There is light everywhere and you can see the physical beauty of our community now,” according to His Royal Highness Miskoom Maurice Danjuma Manu, a traditional ruler of Shimankar and the owner of 40 hectares of farmland.

All On investee, GVE Projects Limited delivered the installation, which is one of many solar projects under the Nigeria Electrification Project, through the Rural Electrification Agency.

Photo of Solar Installation Commissioned in Shimankar Community

Manu who has been farming in Shimankar for over 30 years says the electrification of his village not only changed lives but changed their way of life. I asked him to describe the difference in a sentence.

“I feel like I’ve been living in the bush all these years. In all sincerity, my village looks more like a city than a village today,” he said laughing.

Manu said the savings are the most significant advantage of the switch to solar power.

“In the past, I would spend about thirty thousand Naira a month on petrol. Now, I spend about seven thousand Naira.”

But the financials are only half the story. Manu says solar has given his community an economic boost, with more businesses having sprung up since the end of 2020, and traders coming from several states around the country to buy goods, particularly milled rice.

“We are a community of mostly farmers…The women are now at the forefront of buying and selling because they can now mill every day. People come from Abuja, Bauchi and Nasarawa State to buy rice, so we have been put on the map,” Manu said with obvious pride.

Traders at Shimankar Community Market

Commerce isn’t the only advantage of this uplift to the Shimankar community. Solar has reduced the amount of pollution caused by diesel generators and another menace to society: crime.

“Because the whole place is lit up at night, we don’t see as much theft,” said Manu. “…We are very grateful that what GVE has put here has also helped us to reduce crime.”

I asked His Royal Highness to send me pictures of himself and the community to accompany this story. He agreed to oblige me, but said he wishes I could visit to experience the beauty of his homeland in person.

I just might take him up on that invitation once we get to the other side of Covid…