Renewable energy tour

News   Hazviperi Mbizi   November 11, 2019
PIC: The team at the Sitolo Solar Mini Grid in Mchinji district
The University of Malawi (UNIMA), The Polytechnic, under the Center for Water, Sanitation Health and Appropriate Technology Development (WASHTED) in collaboration with academicians from different Sub Saharan Universities and Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) from Germany, from November 1, 2019 engaged in a country wide tour of the projects under the 7th Academic Initiative for Renewables (AIR) Project.

The team comprised of academicians from the THI of Germany, Nelson Mandela University from South Africa, University of Zimbabwe, University of Zambia, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Eduardo Mondlane University from Mozambique and the hosts UNIMA, Polytechnic including industrial partners from Mulanje Energy Generation Agency (MEGA). 

The first inspection took place on Tuesday, November 2 where the team visited the Mulanje Bondo Energy Generating Power Plant in the area of Chief Bondo in Mulanje District. The power plant is one of the three plants, which were financed by the Scottish government and UNDP through the Global Environmental Facility.

According to the Mulanje Renewable Energy Agency which partners with WASHTED, Project Coordinator Arnold Kadziponye, the aim was to reach out to 400 households, support schools and small businesses.

“We have surpassed the intended target, currently we are servicing 1200 households 5 primary schools 1 Community Day Secondary School, 4 maize mills and 1 clinic,” he explained.

The following day, the team visited Mandrade Energy Kiosk in Chikwawa where they met Francis Sitole who is running a renewable energy business, there by providing and generating electricity to his community through solar panels and lanterns.

Sitole explained that this project is under the Sustainable Off grid Electrification for Rural Villages, which is in partnership with WASHTED.

“At this kiosk, we sell solar batteries and panels, we also charge batteries and phones to the surrounding villages which has helped the community to come up with small scale businesses that require electricity like barber shops, maize mills, video show rooms and many more,” he explained.

Later that day, the team inspected the Kapichira Hydro Power Station, which generates electricity for the most part of the country using water from the Shire River.

On the final day, Friday, November 1, 2019 the team visited the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining offices where they were taken through a presentation made by Cornwell Chisale on the Status of the Energy Sector in Malawi.

To conclude the tour they inspected the Sitolo Village Solar Mini Grid at the area of Chief Mlonyeni in Mchinji district, which has been operational for two months according to the Power House Engineer Moses Gondwe.

Gondwe explained that the Power Grid is able to provide electricity to over 150 households, a maize mill and other small-scale income generating activities in the community.

Apart from these visits, the team also had a chance to visit the beautiful Dziwe Lankhalamba waterfall on Mulanje Mountain, Majete Game Reserve and Lake Malawi.


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