Zara Nwachinemere Abakaliki
100 students of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi state have benefited from the Federal Government-sponsored training on Solar Photovoltaic Systems Installation and Maintenance.
The students who were drawn from the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines were trained under the Energizing Education Programme of the Federal Government being overseen by the Ministry of Power through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
Speaking during the certificate-giving ceremony yesterday, at the 2.8 MW Hybrid Solar Power Plant located in the University, the Training Officer for Asteven Renewable Energy Academy, Isaac Negedu, noted that their organization was contracted by the Rural Electrification Agency to train the students on solar photovoltaic systems installation and maintenance.
He added that the training programme was part of the contractual agreement between the Federal Government and the company that built the solar power plant in the University.
Negedu, stressed that the students were exposed to 3 fundamental areas of training which include, theories, practical and site visitations, noting that the essence was to empower the students to be self-reliant, employable and employers of labour on graduation.
He maintained that through the training which was done in batches, the students have been adequately prepared for the future, adding that renewable, green and clean energy through solar systems installation is the business and profession of the future because it is sustainable and lucrative.
While presenting the certificates to the students, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sunday Elom, noted that the world is challenged by global warming occasioned by climate change, adding that through renewable energy the dangers of climate change could be mitigated.
Represented by the Director, Physical Planning, Works and Services, Dr. A. I Ezeocha, the Vice-Chancellor thanked the Federal Government for choosing the University as one of the beneficiaries of the Energizing Education Programme which according to him, had made the institution the first public University in Nigeria with 24 hours uninterrupted power supply.
The Vice-Chancellor stated that the training has distinguished the students from others as they have been imbued with relevant practical skills to stand out from the crowd on graduation. He however urged them not to take the experience lightly; rather they should bank on it to improve their lives and livelihood.
Sharing her experiences on the training, Michael Hope Chukwu, a 500 level female student of Mechanical Engineering, said the most important task before solar photovoltaic systems installation is energy auditing, noting that it helps to know the number of appliances and number of hours they used in a house.
With the knowledge, she continued, “you will be able to determine the type of panel, inverter and batteries to be used in solar systems installation”.
She thanked the University Management for availing them the opportunity, promising to use the knowledge she has acquired to improve the society, adding that though academic activities in the University are tough, yet the students are happy because they are getting the best in comparison to what is obtainable in other public universities in the country.
Also, Obi Ugo Chukwumaeze, a 400 level student of Physics and Odili Blessing China, a 300 level female student of Chemical Engineering respectively, noted that they have been properly honed through the training, averring that they have also been imbued with the capacity to design, install and maintain solar photovoltaic systems.
They hinted that they can now conveniently embark on load analysis, which according to them, is very critical in solar systems installation and maintenance. They also promised to train other students to ensure that the knowledge and skills they have garnered do not end with them. This is even as they also called on the University authorities to extend the training to other interested students.