By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Anambra State government says it has converted no fewer than sixteen thousand streetlights to solar in different parts of the State.
The State’s Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr. Julius Chukwuemeka, who disclosed this in an interview with this reporter, Izunna Okafor, noted that the conversion which started some months ago had been progressive and fruitful in line with the vision of the State Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, who thought it wise to embark on the initiative.
The Commissioner, who recalled the days of diesel-powered streetlights in the State, said government was spending billions of naira periodically on streetlight maintenance, adding that the amount would have soared higher now, if not for the switchover to solar streetlights, given the current price of petroleum products in the country.
“Aside from the maintenance cost, environmental concerns, human health, and efficiency of operation also take centre stage in the Governor’s visionary decision to embark on the switchover,” he said.
Commissioner Chukwuemeka also disclosed that the state government had converted many diesel-powered boreholes to solar-powered boreholes in different parts of the State. These, according to him, include the moribund 50,000-liter water facility newly renovated and converted to solar by the State Government at the Civil Servants’ Quarters, Iyiagu Estate, Awka. Others, he said, include those converted at Iyiora, Anam, in Anambra West Local Government Area with 5000 gallon tank; Ibuhugu village in Umuchu, Aguata Local Government Area, among many others.
The Commissioner recalled that the water facility inventory his Ministry had when he newly assumed office showed that over 70 percent of 1400 water facilities in different parts of the State were not functional, mainly because of power source, which are largely diesel generators that are expensive to maintain and environmentally unhealthy; hence, the need for alternative source that will be more effective, efficient, and eco-friendly.
Against the speculations emanating from different corners that the lifespan of the solar streetlights does not exceed two years, after which they will be dismantled and replaced with new ones; Commissioner Chukwuemeka, who dismissed such speculations as unfounded and irrelevant, hinted that all the solar streetlights being installed in the State are strong, durable, and can stand the test of time. According to him, every solar streetlight installed by the state government has the capacity to retaining energy for seven days if there’s no sun to charge it.
He further called on the residents of the State to always protect and take full ownership of government property in their areas, to shield them from vandals, as government spends much to provide those facilities for the collective welfare and benefit of the masses.