German firm, UNICAL set to partner on power

Oke Peter with Agency Report

The Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar (UNICAL), Professor Zana Akpagu, has assured the university community of constant electricity power supply following the inauguration of a solar energy project in the institution.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, the Professor Akpagu said the project, being carried out in partnership with the Republic of Germany, was the most historic in his administration.

Akpagu, who identified power as a major impediment to the institution’s growth, said when completed, the project would save the university about N600million yearly, being spent on diesel.

He assured that his administration will ensure that the project comes to fruition, as power forms the nucleus of its activities, especially in research.

To this end, he said the university incorporated the UniCal Solar Energy Company as the Special Purpose Vehicle for the project.

Akpagu, who praised the initiative of the Yar’Adua government that established the Nigerian-German Energy Partnership, described the ceremony as a major milestone in the bilateral agreement between Nigeria and Germany.

He said the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) are the initial uptakers of the project.

The Consul-General of Germany, Herr Inglo Herbert, congratulated the VC on his vision, saying that solar energy would provide an alternative source of power for research.

“This project is the future of this great institution because everything in the university requires power. It is fundamental to education. Our commitment is to make it happen,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the Technical Partners, Cantata Solar Limited, Mr Jeremy Gains, also the coordinator of the project, said UNICAL, though the last university to come on board the solar energy project, moved well ahead of the first nine universities because of the commitment, drive and passion of the VC and his team.

He explained that though Calabar has high volume of rainfall throughout the year, the city is also blessed with high solar radiation, which makes it suitable for solar energy projects.

Former Minister of Power, Dr. Lanre Babalola, lauded the VC for the initiative, describing the project as a dream come true.

CRUTECH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Thomas Agan, expressed delight at the prospect of having constant power supply at the hospital.

Agan lamented that epileptic power supply had been a major challenge in the teaching hospital, and promised to cooperate with the varsity in discharging the hospital’s financial obligations as soon as the project came on stream.