Monthly Archives: September 2015

‘Breakthrough’ Investment in Nigeria Boosts IEEE Smart Village Humanitarian Program

Native entrepreneur secures in-country funding to bring electricity to a million rural citizens

Ifeanyi Orajaka grew up seeking success in business by improving the lives of his fellow Nigerians.

He moved another step closer to his dream this summer as he secured an unprecedented level of in-country financial support for his GVE Projects Ltd. proposal to bring sustainable solar power to off-grid communities in rural Nigeria.

In doing so, Orajaka also realized one of the key goals of the IEEE Smart Village Initiative, which identifies native entrepreneurs who can create sustainable business models for providing electricity to rural communities across the world.

SignChildren“Ifeanyi now has one village online at 12.5 kilowatts (kW),” said Robin Podmore, co-founder of IEEE Smart Village. “He’s signing up to do three villages each with 24 kW of PV generation serving 200 homes with a microgrid.

“The expectation from Ifeanyi and Nigeria’s Bank of Industry is that he’ll extrapolate that over five years to light up 200,000 homes to serve a million people.”

Orajaka has reached an agreement with Nigeria’s Bank of Industry to provide $675,655.40 USD over 15 years at single digit interest rates to achieve his – and IEEE Smart Village – goals to bring three 25 kW solar photovoltaic-based mini-grids in three rural Nigerian communities. IEEE Smart Village will provide 10 percent of the project cost, or $65,535.20 USD. The project’s first phase is scheduled for completion by late 2015.

Perhaps more importantly, the cost to rural Nigerians will be affordable and spread over time. A connection fee will cost $20, monthly payments $11.25.

In a note to Podmore on this milestone effort, Orajaka wrote:

“By leveraging IEEE’s support we have been able to gain the collaboration of more organizations. This includes an invitation from the U.S. Department of State to attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.”

A Nigerian village supported by Ifeanyi and GVE Projects.
A Nigerian village supported by Ifeanyi and GVE Projects.

“We are grateful, honored and proud that the GVE story was made possible by IEEE’s support when we were merely young students with lofty, optimistic ideas [to create] an energy access revolution in West Africa. We are very proud to be ambassadors of IEEE.”

Orajaka’s journey to becoming an IEEE “ambassador” reflects his keen interest in leveraging numerous opportunities open to any IEEE member who distinguishes himself or herself through initiative, innovation and hard work.

He joined IEEE in 2009 as a student member and soon distinguished himself by winning an Outstanding Student Humanitarian Prize in the inaugural IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition in 2009 for his Onitsha, Nigeria team’s “Project Spread the Light: Provide Electricity in a Small Settlement.” Soon after, newly appointed IEEE Executive Director Jim Prendergast personally alerted Orajaka to the Humanitarian Technology Network, which Orajaka joined, as it dovetailed with the objectives of his team’s project.

IMAG1323That bigger world, in turn, led him to join the Community Solutions Initiative, which morphed into the IEEE Smart Village Initiative, in which he received mentoring from leaders like Robin Podmore and enjoyed the collaboration of fellow members. This deepening involvement in IEEE led Orajaka to present papers at international IEEE conferences, including regular attendance at the annual IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference.

As he stated earlier, Orajaka credits his involvement with and support from IEEE for his ability to obtain the collaboration of additional organizations, such as the U.S.’s African Development Foundation that sponsors the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge. All of these factors, Orajaka said, contributed to the success of GVE and the credibility that GVE and its supporters and collaborators brought to its application to the Bank of Nigeria.

The importance of GVE Ltd.’s effort to bring electricity to rural Nigerians cannot be overstated. Nigerians said recently in surveys that reliable electricity should be the new government’s top priority, over security, education and fighting corruption. (Current President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in May 2015.)

Ifeanyi (dark blue tie, middle) accepting grant from the Bank of Industry Nigeria.
Ifeanyi (dark blue tie, middle) accepting grant from the Bank of Industry Nigeria.

The Bank of Industry’s chief executive, Rasheed Olaoluwa, recently gave a speech that crystallized the challenge and solution that Orajaka’s GVE [Green Village Electricity] Projects Ltd. is addressing.

“Nigeria’s current electricity situation is unsatisfactory,” Olaoluwa told his countrymen in announcing the deal with GVE Projects Ltd. “The total electricity supply on our national grid today is less than 4,000 megawatts (MW), relative to the electricity demand [which is] conservatively estimated at 40,000 MW! For a leading African economy like Nigeria, with a population of 170 million people, [that] is grossly inadequate!

“We are initiating a commercially sound model for delivering power to Nigerian rural homes at affordable rates, to provide a long-term alternative to the problematic national grid. The expectation is that 200,000 [people initially served] will become one million.

“We want our rural communities to take control of their energy generation and to pay only for the energy they use. Our medium-term vision is to have 100,000 homes installed with solar systems in the next 5 years, through a combination of micro-grid and stand-alone solar home systems. This is essentially a program aimed at poverty alleviation and rural economic development.”

Thus the interests of Nigerians and the purpose of our global humanitarian program are well-aligned, according to Podmore. Orajaka’s success is IEEE Smart Village’s success.

“Ifeanyi’s success in securing this level of financing opens a whole new realm of possibility for us,” Podmore said. “The scope of work and its impacts is hugely ambitious.

Ifeanyi speaking to reporters.
Ifeanyi speaking to reporters.

“We [at IEEE Smart Village] try to do our best with top down products and business plans, but innovation often comes from our entrepreneurs in the field and people like Ifeanyi just surprise you with amazing breakthroughs. This deal conveys tremendous credibility on IEEE Smart Village. And the deal he has forged is replicable elsewhere.”

Podmore is calling for more IEEE ambassadors to travel to developing countries in search of in-country entrepreneurs such as Orajaka who can create sustainable business models for electricity provision in off-grid communities.

“It’s an exciting time to be looking at what’s working across all the different programs and countries we serve, which are successful in the sense that these businesses are surviving and growing,” Podmore said.

Ifeanyi (blue shirt) assisting Nigerian communities.
Ifeanyi (blue shirt) assisting Nigerian communities.

“In terms of next steps, we need to develop a common set of re-usable components that can be plug-and-play, with standard interfaces, across solar home systems from 50 watts to microgrid systems at 25 kW. We need a common set of open-source hardware and software to facilitate the monitoring, control and payment for such systems.

“We’ve given our partners a lot of freedom to build custom solutions that they imagine can meet their own country’s needs. Now we need commonalities, document best practices and share those practices.

“And we need people with great digital story-telling skills,” Podmore added. “There’s a huge need for that across the world.”

———

IEEE Smart Village is donor supported. Making a contribution to the IEEE Smart Village Fund of the IEEE Foundation is your opportunity to affect the future of those less fortunate.

IEEE Smart Village Celebrates Bank of Industry Nigeria’s Investment in GVE Projects Ltd. with Additional Funding to Further Support Electricity Projects in Off-Grid Communities

Winner of the 2013 Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, GVE receives more than US$741,190 to implement three units of 24 kW PV solar-based microgrids

IEEE Smart Village, a global humanitarian program helping remote, energy-deprived communities build toward sustainability with renewable energy and technology, announced today that its partner in Nigeria, Green Village Electricity (GVE) Projects Ltd., has received a US$675,655.40 equity and debt investment from the country’s Bank of Industry. To further support the investment, IEEE Smart Village will provide GVE with US$65,535.20 of matching funds as part of a seed-funding program supporting grant, bringing the total investment to US$741,190.60.

“GVE is humbled and grateful for the support from Bank of Industry in Nigeria and IEEE Smart Village,” said Ifeanyi Orajaka, chief executive officer of GVE Projects. “The funding represents 90 percent of the total cost. With this investment and support, the project will provide electricity to 200 homes in each of the three villages. Assuming that this pilot program is successful, then the Bank of Industry is planning to expand the GVE program to 200,000 households (more than 1 million people) in the next five years, which is delivering on the IEEE Smart Village vision.”

The funding will help the implementation of three units each with 24 kW PV solar-based microgrids in three off-grid Nigerian communities. In 2013, GVE implemented IEEE Smart Village’s portable battery franchise model to a Nigerian village through the installation of a 6 kW PV microgrid. The project enabled basic lighting, charging cell phones, powering small tools and entertainment devices and provided electricity for a health center. As a result, GVE was named a winner of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, an initiative launched by General Electric (GE) and the United States African Development Foundation (USADF).

In addition to its recent grants and awards, GVE first found success in 2009 when it was awarded the “Outstanding Student Humanitarian Prize” of US$1,000 as part of the IEEE Presidents’ Change the World Competition. GVE was also awarded US$30,000 in the Bank of Industry/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) prize in May 2012.

“We want our rural communities to take control of their energy generation and to pay only for the energy they use,” said Rasheed Olaoluwa, managing director and CEO with the Bank of Industry Nigeria. “This is essentially a program aimed at poverty alleviation and rural economic development. Through this solar project, each home will have sufficient solar energy to power three LED light bulbs, one electric fan, one radio/TV set and, of course, mobile phone charging. These are the basic energy needs of any rural family.”

IEEE Smart Village is a donor supported signature program of the IEEE Foundation with the goal to deliver basic electrical and educational services to more than 50 million people by 2025. IEEE Smart Village is currently serving more than 50,000 people through local partners in Cameroon, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan.

Read more about GVE’s story and the success of IEEE Smart Village’s partnership with Ifeanyi Orajaka. In addition, these latest video interviews with some of the dedicated IEEE Smart Village volunteers, describe what IEEE Smart Village does and how it is changing people’s lives.

For more information on IEEE Smart Village, including how to get involved and to donate, please visit the new website: http://www.ieee-smart-village.org.

About IEEE

IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.

About IEEE Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of IEEE, the IEEE Foundation inspires the generosity of donors so it may enable IEEE programs that enhance technology access, literacy and education, as well as support the IEEE professional community.

The IEEE Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, fulfills its purpose by soliciting and managing donations, recognizing the generosity of our donors, awarding grants to IEEE grassroots projects of strategic importance, supporting high impact Signature Programs, serving as a steward of donations that empower bright minds, recognize innovation and preserve the history of technology. With donor support, the IEEE Foundation strives to be a leader in transforming lives through the power of technology and education.

Contacts
For IEEE Smart Village (and for photo requests)
Carrie Owens, +1 931-456-0962
carrie_owens@interprosepr.com

or

IEEE Foundation
Karen Kaufman, +1 732-981-3436
k.m.kaufman@ieee.org

IEEE Smart Village Unveils New Web Presence and Newly Sponsored IEEE Global Classroom at the Posner Center for International Development

IEEE-wide humanitarian program welcomes participation at IEEE Smart Village events during 2015 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting in Denver, Colorado

IEEE Smart Village, a global humanitarian program helping remote, energy-deprived communities build toward sustainability with renewable energy and technology, today launched its new website (www.ieee-smart-village.org) to the world and to crowds assembling this week in Denver at the annual IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) General Meeting (GM). It also unveiled the new IEEE Global Classroom at the Posner Center for International development.

“This is an important week for IEEE Smart Village as we actively engage online and in person with volunteers who want to make a difference,” said Ray Larsen, co-founder of IEEE Smart Village. “This program depends on volunteers and in-kind donations, and our new website is where like-minded people come to learn how they can positively impact off-grid communities around the world. We’re gaining real traction in 2015 by taking IEEE Smart Village to the next level.”

These latest video interviews with some of the dedicated IEEE Smart Village volunteers who are attending this week’s IEEE PES GM, describe what IEEE Smart Village does and how it is changing people’s lives.

“We are in the business of trying to create commerce and employment and education,” said Robin Podmore, co-founder of IEEE Smart Village. “We’re putting in companies that villagers can own and generate income from, we’re not just giving people light bulbs.”

Ray Larsen and Robin Podmore originally founded the IEEE Community Solutions Initiative in 2009 to address energy poverty and billions of people with no access to the electric grid. The global humanitarian effort, which in 2014 became IEEE Smart Village, an IEEE Foundation Signature Program, goes beyond providing electricity and takes a holistic approach to community empowerment by raising up and educating local entrepreneurs to establish sustainable communities right where they live.

IEEE Smart Village is a donor-led program with the goal to deliver basic electrical and educational services to more than 50 million people by 2025. IEEE Smart Village is currently serving more than 50,000 people through local partners in Cameroon, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan.

IEEE Smart Village is conducting a series of meetings co-located with the IEEE PES GM at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colo., 26-30 July 2015. For more information on the IEEE Smart Village meeting series and how to attend, click here.

For more information on IEEE Smart Village, including how to get involved and to donate, please visit: http://ieee-smart-village.org.

About IEEE

IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.

About IEEE Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of IEEE, the IEEE Foundation inspires the generosity of donors so it may enable IEEE programs that enhance technology access, literacy and education, as well as support the IEEE professional community.

The IEEE Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, fulfills its purpose by soliciting and managing donations, recognizing the generosity of our donors, awarding grants to IEEE grassroots projects of strategic importance, supporting high impact Signature Programs, serving as a steward of donations that empower bright minds, recognize innovation and preserve the history of technology. With donor support, the IEEE Foundation strives to be a leader in transforming lives through the power of technology and education.

Contacts
For IEEE Smart Village
Ryan Alford, +1 303-332-4993
ryan_alford@interprosepr.com

or

IEEE Foundation
Karen Kaufman, +1 732-981-3436
k.m.kaufman@ieee.org

IEEE Smart Village Invites Participation At Events In Denver Co-Located During 2015 IEEE Power & Energy Society General Meeting

IEEE announces newly sponsored IEEE Global Classroom at the Posner Center for International Development

IEEE Smart Village, a global humanitarian program helping remote, energy-deprived communities build toward sustainability with renewable energy and technology, announced today the series of meetings co-located with the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) annual General Meeting at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colo., 26-30 July 2015, and at the newly sponsored IEEE Global Classroom at the Posner Center for International Development.

The Posner Center, located in downtown Denver, is a new collaborative of 130 for-profit and nonprofit organizations pursuing lasting solutions to poverty, human capacity building and integrated approaches to development challenges.

IEEE Smart Village events include:

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 8:00am – 4:00pm
IEEE Smart Village Ambassador and Entrepreneur Development
This workshop, designed for college students and young professionals, is focused on how IEEE Smart Village is initiating world change
Location: IEEE Global Classroom, Posner Center for International Development
Monday, July 27, 2015, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
IEEE Smart Village reception
Location: Posner Center for International Development
Monday, July 27 – Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Panel sessions, presentations and committee meetings to engage, enable and empower IEEE members and volunteers to join IEEE Smart Village

Topics include:
IEEE Smart Village Development – An Investment in Innovation and Social Responsibility
IEEE Smart Village Technology & Business Operations – A look at the off-grid hardware deployed, telemetric reporting and village enterprise operation
Location: Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

For a detailed agenda of the week’s activities, click here.

The 2015 IEEE PES General Meeting brings together practicing power engineers and academics who will present and discuss the key challenges and opportunities in the electric power industry. More than 3,000 professionals from around the world will participate in the conference and attend diverse super sessions and plenary presentations.

IEEE Smart Village, an IEEE Foundation Signature Program, is a donor-led program with the goal to deliver basic electrical and educational services to more than 50 million people by 2025. IEEE Smart Village is currently serving over 15,000 people through local partners in Cameroon, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria and South Sudan. For more information on IEEE Smart Village, including how to get involved and to donate, please visit: http://ieee-smart-village.org.

About IEEE

IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.

About IEEE Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of IEEE, the IEEE Foundation inspires the generosity of donors so it may enable IEEE programs that enhance technology access, literacy and education, as well as support the IEEE professional community.

The IEEE Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, fulfills its purpose by soliciting and managing donations, recognizing the generosity of our donors, awarding grants to IEEE grassroots projects of strategic importance, supporting high impact Signature Programs, serving as a steward of donations that empower bright minds, recognize innovation and preserve the history of technology. With donor support, the IEEE Foundation strives to be a leader in transforming lives through the power of technology and education.

Contacts
For IEEE Smart Village
Carrie Owens, +1 731-225-3414
carrie_owens@interprosepr.com

or

IEEE Foundation
Karen Kaufman, +1 732-981-3436
k.m.kaufman@ieee.org

Ray Larsen, IEEE Smart Village Founder, Receives Prestigious 2015 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Service Award

Larsen recognized for “inspiring locally owned businesses to provide sustainable humanitarian benefits in underprivileged communities”

IEEE Smart Village, a global humanitarian program helping remote, energy-deprived communities build toward sustainability with renewable energy and technology, announced today co-founder Ray Larsen has been named the recipient of the 2015 IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award.

“Our goal is not just to deliver basic electricity and education, but to empower communities to become capable of producing their own entrepreneurs in a wide range of fields in the future”

Larsen originally founded IEEE Community Solutions Initiative in 2009 to address the situation of energy poverty and billions of people with no access to the electric grid. The global humanitarian effort, which in 2014 became IEEE Smart Village, an IEEE Foundation Signature Program, goes beyond providing electricity and takes a holistic approach to community empowerment by raising up and educating local entrepreneurs to establish sustainable communities right where they live.

“This IEEE Service Award is a great honor and I share it with those volunteers, sponsors and partners worldwide who have come alongside me to invest in our mission to empower off-grid communities in sustainable ways,” said Larsen. “Our work is just beginning and I look forward to nurturing partnerships with local organizations within the remote communities that IEEE Smart Village serves to more efficiently and widely deliver energy and technology solutions.”

Since its launch, the program has served over 15,000 people in 34 villages globally including Haiti, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Sudan and Kenya with the vision to bring basic electrical and educational services to more than 50 million people by 2025.

“Our goal is not just to deliver basic electricity and education, but to empower communities to become capable of producing their own entrepreneurs in a wide range of fields in the future,” continued Larsen.

Sponsored by the IEEE Technical Activities Board, the IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award recognizes distinguished service to the development, viability, advancement and pursuit of IEEE technical objectives. Larsen was honored at the 2015 IEEE Honors Ceremony on Saturday, 20 June 2015 in New York. For more information about the 2015 IEEE Honors Ceremony, click here.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Larsen is a special projects engineering manager at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University.

IEEE Smart Village is conducting a series of meetings co-located with the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) annual General Meeting at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, Denver, Colo., 26-30 July 2015. On Sunday, 26 July 2015, IEEE Smart Village will host an Ambassador and Entrepreneur Development Workshop held at the newly sponsored IEEE Global Classroom at the Posner Center for International Development. For more information on the IEEE Smart Village meeting series and how to attend, click here.

For more information on how to get involved and to donate to IEEE Smart Village, please visit http://ieee-smart-village.org.

About IEEE

IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at http://www.ieee.org.

About IEEE Foundation

As the philanthropic arm of IEEE, the IEEE Foundation inspires the generosity of donors so it may enable IEEE programs that enhance technology access, literacy and education, as well as support the IEEE professional community.

The IEEE Foundation, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization in the United States, fulfills its purpose by soliciting and managing donations, recognizing the generosity of our donors, awarding grants to IEEE grassroots projects of strategic importance, supporting high impact Signature Programs, serving as a steward of donations that empower bright minds, recognize innovation and preserve the history of technology. With donor support, the IEEE Foundation strives to be a leader in transforming lives through the power of technology and education.

Contacts
For IEEE Smart Village
Carrie Owens, +1 731-225-3414
carrie_owens@interprosepr.com

or

IEEE Foundation
Karen Kaufman, +1 732-981-3436
k.m.kaufman@ieee.org