Solar Is Electrifying Malawi

The population of the Republic of Malawi is approximately 19.30 million people[1]. In 2018, only 18.02% of the people in this southeast African country had access to electricity[2].

In 2018, Malawi’s economy was ranked 148th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on the export of tobacco, tea, macadamia nuts, sugar, and uranium.

In 2016, Malawi signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to a series of unconditional and conditional actions designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 47%, compared to a business-as-usual case. Malawi’s programs are designed to reduce per capita CO2 emissions by 0.7 to 0.8 tons.

In 2018, the state-owned electric company,  Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited (ESCOM), which has an installed capacity of only 439 MW used renewable energy (99%) and oil (1%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropower (87.5%) and solar (12.5%) are the only sources of renewable energy currently used in Malawi.

UAE solar developer, Phanes Group and Kenya investment company, Renewable Energy Holding and have begun construction on the Nkhotakota solar project, which is located in central Malawi. The 37 MW solar project is part of the government’s plan to increase access to electricity in Malawi.

Malawi is rich in renewable energy potential, including hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass. If developed, the country’s renewable energy resources could provide to electricity to everyone in Malawi.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. Substantial international aid will be required if this country is going to provide electricity to all the people in this southeast African country.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

[1] Malawi Population (2020) –  November  9, 2020

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Malawi

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] US Aid – Malawi Power Africa Fact Sheet

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