Nigeria Wins Gold in Clean Energy Technology Competition

An enterprising team of students from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, have claimed gold in the Efficiency for Access Design Challenge Grand Final 2023-24.

A group of students walk together underneath a large solar panel in a concreted area.

An enterprising team of students from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria has clinched the Gold Award in a major clean energy technology competition with their solar power management and diagnostics invention.

Judges were impressed with the students’ Solar Sentry project which uses machine learning and real-time monitoring to track power and voltage, leading to early detection of issues and optimised performance of solar panels and batteries.

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, now in its fifth year, encourages students from around the world to help improve the quality of life for communities with underdeveloped or non-existent electricity grids.

Globally, around *759 million individuals lack access to electricity, the majority of them concentrated in the Global South.

Silver Award winners were Strathmore University, Kenya for their solar-powered smart cereal dryer along with Independent University of Bangladesh for their solar-powered gear pump. Students from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria took home a Bronze Award for their solar-powered cold room. Gulu University, Uganda were double winners, scooping two Bronze Awards for their solar-powered water disinfection system and a solar UV sterile storage unit for medical equipment.

A joint entry from Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria and Tribhuvan University in Nepal was awarded Bronze for a solar-powered milking machine. And a Bronze Award went to University of Rwanda for their automated solar-powered cooling appliance for fresh produce.

The competition attracts aspiring students from around the globe, many hoping to pursue careers in renewable energy once they graduate. This year over one hundred young people from Bangladesh, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, the UK and Zimbabwe took part.

All participating teams must ensure their solution contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy and meets the criteria for innovation, sustainability, social impact and scalability.

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge is delivered by research and development innovators, Efficiency for Access, in collaboration with Engineers Without Borders UK and funded with UK aid from the UK government via the Transforming Energy Access platform and the IKEA Foundation.


Rob MacIver, Energy Innovation Adviser, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said, “All entrants deserve to be commended for developing sustainable energy technologies that not only address the pressing issue of energy access but will also contribute significantly to our global efforts to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis. These projects highlight the potential for clean energy innovations to drive substantial progress towards a more sustainable and resilient future.”

Jolanda van Ginkel, Programme Manager Renewable Energy, IKEA Foundation said, “It’s inspiring to see such a range of creative and practical ideas from these young innovators. The social impact of these projects cannot be overstated and is very much aligned with the IKEA Foundation’s commitment to help create better everyday lives for the many people through access to renewable energy.”

Mike Thornton, Chief Executive, Energy Saving Trust, joint coordinators of Efficiency for Access said: “The breadth of innovative solutions submitted by students to address real world issues, is impressive. Equipping young people with the skills to develop and implement groundbreaking technologies is essential for driving progress towards a sustainable future.”

*[source: SEfor All SDG7 targets]


Program Partner

  • Engineers Without Borders UK

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