| By Maureen Chigbo | Mar. 25, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
OVER the years, the village of Pitti Gare in Cameroon was not connected to either the national electricity network or the rural electrification system using solar power. But now the inhabitants of the village,who have never had electricity, have cause to be happy. Schneider Electric, the market leader in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, has inaugurated the BipBop electrification project in the village, located in the coastal region of Cameroon.
The solution used for the village is Villasol – which supplies electricity off-grid to a cassava milling machine and will eventually supply the school and clinic, as well as providie a domestic battery charging service for the people of the village.
The BipBop programme aims to develop access to a reliable, affordable and clean energy supply for the people at the base of the pyramid, by combining training in energy sector trades, investments in local small and medium enterprises, SMEs, and technological solutions suited to the people’s needs and resources. This approach will provide a clear improvement in the health and education sectors, meaning that BipBop is helping to reduce rural exodus and is working towards sustainable development for local communities and enterprises.
Two hundred villagers and several representatives of various organizations, including Emmanuel Njiki, president of the Comity for the Development of Pitti Gare, involved in the programme were present at the event. One of the villagers identified only as Etoundi, is one of the inhabitants of Piti Gare, who now has access to electricity in her house. The electricity project has also made it possible for the children of Pitti Gare to be able to do their homework after 6 pm.
According to Schneider Electric, the presence of many of Cameroon’s ministers and officials was symbolic, demonstrating the country’s political ambition to develop access to energy. The French Development Agency, AFD, says that 95 percent of people living in rural areas in Cameroon do not have access to electricity, even though more than 45 percent of Cameroon’s population live in rural areas.
Jean-Marc Darboux, president of Schneider Electric International, said: “Africa is capable of unrivalled technological progress. Some Africans have never owned telephone landlines but today own two mobile phones. Similarly, every new town, every new district should benefit from the latest Smart Grid technologies. And every rural village should have access to renewable off-grid energy without having to wait for conventional solutions to be provided.”
As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, Schneider Electric offers integrated solutions across multiple market segments, including leadership positions in utilities and infrastructure, industries and machines manufacturers, non-residential building, data centres and networks and in residential building. Focused on making energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green, the group’s 140,000 plus employees achieved sales of 24 billion euros in 2012, through an active commitment to help individuals and organisations make the most of their energy.