Malawi is a Land-locked country located in south eastern Africa and Lies between 32.51E and 35.91E longitudes, Bordered by Tanzania to the north, Zambia to the west and Mozambique to the south and east. As of 2021, the population was about 19 Million, with a nominal GDP of about 12.8 Billion.

As of date 18% of the population has been electrified. Total electricity production currently is at 490MW. 410MW generated from hydropower, peaking diesel plants and hybrid solar-diesel power plants at Chizumulu and Likoma, owned by EGENCO MW LTD. JCM Power limited is producing 80MW from its two solar farm, feeding into the national grid.


‌Department of Energy affairs (DOE)

‌Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA)

‌Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM)

‌Electricity Generation Company Malawi Limited (EGENCO)

‌Power Market Limited (PML)

‌Malawi Investment Trade Center (MITC)

‌Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban development

‌Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development


‌Low generation capacity, currently,  129.6MW  is off the grid due to the washing away of the run-off dam dyke, resulting to the shut down of Kapichila Power Station

‌Low electricity access

‌Lack of funding for prospective power generating projects

‌scarcity of data, on and about potential sites

‌Lack of technical expertise in project planning, development and execution


‌60MW JCM Solar Power Plant, Nanjoka, Salima, valued at US$75.7 million   (commissioned)

‌20MW JCM Solar Power Plant, Golomoti, Dedza, with battery back up of 5MW, valued at US$8 million  (completed)

‌21MW Solar Power Plant Phanes group, Power Market Limited, Serengeti Nkhotakota, Sunel Ltd Limited  valued at US$67 million (in progress)


10MW Solar Power Plant, first phase, battery bank inclusive, EGENCO Mw Ltd, Nanjoka, Salima, with potential scale up to 50MW. Chint Electric as project developer for first phase. Valued at US$12 million

350MW Hydropower Plant , Mpatamanga Gorge along the shire river, EGENCO MW LTD, valued at US$1.07 billion dollars

50MW Solar Power Plant, Quantel Energy, Bwengu, Mzimba, valued at US$65 million

50MW Nkhoma Deka Solar PV Park, Renewable Energy Services Africa, valued at US$6.14 million

17.5MW Solar Power Plant, Voltalia PV Kanengo, Lilongwe,

20MW Solar Power Plant, Atlas Solar PV, Kanengo, Lilongwe,  valued at US$36.10 million

‌20MW Floating Solar Farm on Lake Malawi in Monkey Bay, Droege Energy

‌50MW Mphamvu Wind Farm, Mzimba

‌3MW Mini-Hydro, Muloza river run-off, Mulanje district

210MW Kholombizo hydro-electric power plant (PPP), run-off river type, Investment cost is US$499.5 million with a net present value of US$127.4 million

‌146.3MW Fufu hydro-electric power plant (PPP), South Rukukru River in Rumphi district. Range of financial   internal rate of return (FIRR) is 12% to 17.5%, and a net present value of between US$110.5 million and US$356 million respectively

‌10MW Chiweta geothermal power plant (PPP) located in Rumphi district, northern region , with the approximated CAPEX of US$76.2 million

Important sites


Hot springs, geysers, seeps, you name them, a manifestation of geothermal energy, the power extracted from heat stored beneath the earth.
But how does this energy come about? Well, continuous decay of radioactive materials and solar radiation heating the earth’s surface brings about this energy. And by the way, the origin of this energy makes it renewable.

For long, geothermal energy has been used to dry crops in the agricultural sector thereby preventing post harvest losses, enhance quick multiplication in fish farming and milk pasteurization. Some cultures believe that water from hot springs contain natural healing abilities, curing different skin diseases after a hot bath.

Geothermal energy

With advancement in technology, harnessing geothermal energy  to more useful power such as electricity generation has been made possible. Iceland, the pioneer in the use of geothermal energy, for example, generates 25% of its total electricity using geothermal power facilities. Key to the utilisation of its geothermal energy resource has been the ability to simultaneously build large scale hydropower plants, creating a balance in their energy mix. And so, effects of climate change on hydro power generation are cushioned by geothermal energy power generation.

Malawi has a number of hot springs and gysers which have the potential to be utilised for power generation. The Chiweta springs have recorded temperatures ranging 79 to 84 degrees Celsius.

Geothermal energy

So how do we generate electricity from geothermal energy? In a nutshell, Geothermal power facilities use steam  to produce electricity. Beneath the earth surface, hot water is trapped in reservoirs and the steam produced for such is the one used for electricity generation. The steam is channeled and directed to rotate a turbine, which is connected to the generator that produces electricity.

There are three types of geothermal power plants.

Dry steam power plants draw steam from underground reserves. The steam is then directly Piped to the power plant where it drives the turbine which is connected to the generator. The steam eliminates the burning of fossil fuels, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Flash steam power plants use Water reservoirs with higher temperature. The hot water is pumped under high pressure into a tank that is at a lower pressure. As such, the hot water rapidly turns to vapour. The vapour produced turns a turbine which drives the generator.The water that remains plus the condensed steam
Is injected back into the reservoir and can be used to produce more energy.

Binary steam power plant uses a secondary fluid as a working fluid. The geothermal hot Water and the working fluid pass through a heat exchanger. The working fluid has a lower boiling point and so heat from the geothermal water  causes the working fluid to vaporise. The vapour then turns the turbine which drives the generator, consequently producing electricity.

Geothermal energy can be used as baseload energy as it is always on. According to an article by the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy, geothermal power plants generate electricity consistently. The power output is predictable and stable thereby facilitating energy planning with good accuracy. The plants are a goon means of meeting baseload energy demand, or the minimum level of demand on an electrical grid during a 24 hour period.


INVESTIGATING THE PERCEPTION OF THE COMMUNITY TOWARDS GEOTHERMAL ENERGY UTILISTION, Donalia Mhango,to%20transport%20and%20store%20fuels).,more%20below%20the%20earth’s%20surface.&text=The%20steam%20rotates%20a%20turbine,a%20generator%2C%20which%20produces%20electricity.

Geothermal Development in Malawi – A Country Update, K.T. Gondwe


Mini Grids using solar power with a battery bank have proven to be key in supplying constant power to the national grid network, without affecting the system’s frequency nor causing emergency trips on the hydropower and steam turbine driven generators.


The battery bank plays a major role in ensuring that electrical power produced by the solar panels is available for use during cloudy days, as well as no sunshine periods.

In sizing the battery bank for a mini grid system, days of autonomy are taken into account. This is the number of days that the load can be sustained by power from the battery bank alone without being supported by the Mini grid.

For long, solar mini grid system designers have opted for Lead Acid batteries,which cost less than other batteries available such as sealed maintenance free batteries, and can be maintained by topping up battery water and removing layers of sulphur that build up on battery terminals. The major drawback of using Lead Acid Batteries is limited lifetime span. Apart from that, extra care has to be taken when topping up battery water as the acid can harm the human body and damage clothing if protective clothes are not used. The charging cycle for Lead acid batteries is quite long as well.

Lithium ion battery bank

Lately, the need for stable, sustainable, reliable and efficient mini Grids that are to be connected to the national grid has promoted the use of battery banks in on grid solar power mini grids over the use of grid tied system that use grid tie inverters.

Taking into account the efficiency, stability, and sustainability of the mini Grids, Lithium ion batteries are being opted for than Lead acid batteries. Despite being expensive, lithium ion batteries have a wide power range,  and delivers the same amount of power throughout the entire discharge cycle. Lithium ion batteries are maintenance free.

When It comes to charging, lithium ion batteries charge at a rate that is four times faster than Lead Acid batteries. As national grids get integrated with use of renewable energy technologies, steady state power supply with minimal to no frequency fluctuations is needed. With this attribute, the time in which the batteries can be used is more as compared to the time it takes to be charged, therefore ensuring a smooth supply of steady power whilst maintaining the recommended frequency.

Transmission lines

In order to achieve Grid integration without creating power and frequency fluctuations and disturbances, power generation companies have to consider investing in battery banks with lithium ion batteries as they are proving to be efficient, consistent, reliable and stable in power storage and provision. This is directly linked to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy.



HVAC refers to Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning. An HVAC system is used to provide desired heating, air circulation and cooling in homes, motor vehicles and air planes among others to the end user’s comfort, in tandem with acceptable indoor air quality.

Bare ceiling with air duct, CCTV, air conditioner pipe and fire sprinkler system on white ceiling wall. Air flow and ventilation system. Ceiling lamp light with opened light. Interior architecture.(istock)

HVAC Systems ensure that the indoor environment is maintained at conducive levels in which individuals and equipment that requires specific storage and operating temperatures are sustained. In a facility set up and rooms, pollutants, odor and bacteria are reduced by use of a well set ventilation system.
An HVAC system in addition improves the quality of indoor air in circulation, ensuring that the air inside is well filtered and clean, almost free of dust, pathogens and germs.

The process of creating, controlling and maintaining desired temperature, humidity and air purity in indoor spaces, independent of outside conditions is defined as air conditioning.

It is a machine that is used systematically for air conditioning.


    Split type air conditioners have two components; an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. Examples of split type air conditioning units are:
Air conditioner condenser outdoor unit (istock)

Wall Mounted Air Conditioners: The indoor unit is placed on a wall, close to the ceiling(on a high level) and are ideal for offices, living rooms and server rooms. The outdoor unit is placed at a place the installer sees fit to allow for pipping works as well as drainage system. The installer chose the wall that ensures even distribution of air.

Air conditioner indoor unit(istock)

ceiling Cassette Air Conditioners: the indoor unit is mounted on the ceiling , with the outdoor unit placed outside of the building. These Ceiling Cassettes turn to cool a wide area and do not take Much space are preferred most in banks and office spaces. They add beauty to the space in which they operate.

White ceiling mounted cassette type air conditioner for large rooms, exhibition room, for business use(istock)

Under Ceiling Air Conditioners: these come with a design that enable them to lift air in a vertical manner into the indoor unit and release the conditioned air horizontally along the ceiling. Another designs allow for air release from it’s four sides.

  1. SINGLE UINT (MONO-BLOCK) AIR CONDITIONERS: These type do not have an outdoor and indoor unit, rather, the the two are merged as a whole (one single unit).

Examples of single unit air conditioners include:

Window Mounted Air conditioners: A square whole fitting the size of the air conditioner is created and the air conditioning unit is installed with the front end facing the inside and the rare end facing outside of the building.

Window mounted (Photo Credit: Mark Walton)

Portable Mobile Air Conditioners: These do not require any mounting structures and are directly placed where the conditioned air is required. They are usually used for smaller applications.

Some air conditioners are designed to run on single phase power whilst some are designed to use three phase power. Based on the power supply available and the nature and how big the room is, an air conditioner has to be selected that will meet the desired needs. Some ceiling cassette air conditioners do require three phase power to run the outdoor unit and single phase power to run the indoor unit.

BTU stands for British Thermal Units. BTUs number indicate the amount of heat an Air Conditioner can remove from a room. The smaller the room, the smaller the BTUs number and the larger the room, the higher the BTUs number.

Air compressors installed in the factory (istock)


Having the right tools comes in handy when executing a particular given job. Each and every profession has its own designated tools to ensure that tasks at hand are done in efficient and effective manner, professionalism attribute.

Working Contractor Electrician. Fixing the Light.

For Electricians, technicians and DIY, here with are the must have tools;

This is a device used to measure electrical quantities such as voltage, current and resistance. The most commonly used are digital multi-meters which measure multiple electrical quantities such capacitance, diode test, DC and AC voltage, resistance and continuity. There are different types digital multi-meters and one of the top brand is fluke.

Another brand you can go for but not limited to is Amprobe .

Typically, pliers are used for cutting wires, stripping the insulation part (outer coating) of a wire and joining two wires that have their insulation part stripped off to a given length by taping them or using a connector block. Pliers are also used for twisting, bending and gripping wires and cables.
Some of the brands used but not limited to include;

A screwdriver is a tool used for tightening and loosening screws. They are two main types; Flat and star screwdriver. Screwdriver sets are of different sizes ranging from terminal small ones to big ones depending on the size of stew involved.

Also known as a Hex key, Allen key is used for loosening and tightening bolts and screws that have hexagonal shaped sockets atop. The L shaped Allen keys are commonly used for most electrical applications.—1505424

Fish tape is a tool used by electricians when wiring a building and or a house. It used to pull wire through electrical conduits.

A pipe bender is a tool used when bending pipes for electrical conduits. A bender alters the shape of the pipe, PVC commonly used, to ensure the continuity of the pipping conduit with the desired angle of bend.

A drill machine is a tool used to for drilling(creating) holes on hard surfaces such as walls, wood using drill bits. Depending on the task at hand, different drill bits are used. For concrete walls, concrete drill bits are used and for metal surfaces, metal drill bits are used. Saw cutters are also used when creating holes such as those for cable glands on a metal surface.

A hacksaw comes in handy when cutting cables, especially armored cables and also pipes for conduits to length. Its a too used for cutting purposes, using the blade attached to it.

Mostly used when cutting electrical insulation, stripping off cable insulation, cutting cables and electrical tape.


A crimping to is mainly used when joining a wire to a lug in such a manner that a wire connected to a lug or a connector is deformed making a joint in the process. There are three types of crimping tool;hand crimping, hydraulic crimping and hammer crimping.

Hand press crimping tool
Hydraulic crimping tool

An electrician uses a hummer mostly during wiring and electrical installation. A chasing hammer is used when creating channels where pipes for conduits are laid. The ball shaped side is used for hunkering saddles to hold the pipes to the surface. The ball side is also used to ensure that electrical fittings such as round boxes and square boxes are held in place, by driving nails attaching them to the wall surfaces or trusses.

Chasing hammer with comb

A tape measure is useful in determining the length of a particular subject matter. It can be used to determine the height of a socket, switch, cooker control unit as well as length of a cable for accuracy, avoiding wastage. It ensures uniformity in installation of electrical fixtures as accuracy is guaranteed.

Insulation tape has to be available st all the. It is used to insulate cable joints where connector blocks are not available. It is also used to insulate electrical wires whose insulation has suffers wear and tear. When cables have been isolated, insulation tape comes in handy so as to ensure that no wire is bare,in so doing avoiding accident s and electrical shock.


Smallholder farmers contribute about 60% of the global food produced. In most parts of the world, these farmers rely on rain fed farming, a scenario that leads to one growing season in a whole year. This results to low productivity for the farmers as they have to wait for the rainy season in order to grow their crops.

Countries that have succeeded in agriculture and food production have prioritized irrigation in their farming activities, ensuring an all year farming season, supplementing periods of no rainfall.
For more sustainable agri-food systems, irrigation has to be incorporated, ensuring water availability all year round. Sub-saharan African countries have good arable land, suitable for farming and able to support the growth of different crop varieties as well as water bodies and sources which can be utilized for irrigation.
In as much as irrigation farming is key in ensuring food security, all year farming and zero hunger, choosing the right pump for your needs is the prerequisite.
In selecting a pump for your farming activities, you have to:

    Knowing your water source is key in determining the type of water pump to be used. Water can be sourced from a river, stream (surface)and a drilled borehole(underground).
    Basing on the crops being grown and other activities requiring water, total daily water demand has to be calculated.
    for surface water sources, surface water pumps are ideal, and for underground water source, submersible pumps are to be used. Submersible pumps are mainly submerged in drilled boreholes with water piping system connected.
    It is important to find out the flow rate of the well in submersible water pump systems, which is the amount of water flowing through the pipe connected to the pump at a given time span and can be calculated in Liters/second or Liters /minute or cubic meters per hour.
    The to talk dynamic head is calculated by determining the distance from surface to water level when pumping, the pressure at pump discharge and drops pipe friction as well as valve(s).
    For water storage purposes, tanks are used. In such a set up, water is pumped into the funk which usually rest on an elevated flat surface and then distributed to the farm using gravity force. It is recommended that you use a pressure tank in order to build the pressure of the water being delivered.
Solar powered pump

Look out for the next blog on how to size a solar water pumping system and the available solar water pumps.


House roof with solar panels

The global Energy mix has experienced a rise in production and use of Renewable Energy Technologies, with solar power equipment topping the list. Notable companies and organizations are going green, opting for solar energy as the main source for power in their office buildings and equipment there in. This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal number 7:Affordable and Clean Energy. Not only big companies are replacing their Diesel/petrol powered generators With solar powered systems but also home owners are opting for the new, clean source on energy for their power needs. A solar photovoltaic system can be used either as backup, or stand alone system powering a house or used for irrigation and water pumping.

Of late, many home-owners have raised the reliability of solar home based systems with the main concern being that the system does provide power for a few hours and goes off, and in a Sub-Saharan Africa set up, it turns not to fulfil the desired backup Electricity when the grid goes off during load shedding and in villages where access to electricity is but a dream to many.

But what really causes the system not to perform to its full capacity as desired by the user?

Solar Home System

Lack of qualified personnel in sizing, designing and installing solar home systems is the main reason. Most proprietors fot Solar Home systems are only interested in making the sale and at the same time, a majority of home owners are excited about having solar powered electricity installed without taking Considering the factors that will contribute to the effective and efficient performance of the system, and as a result, the system is under-sized and people turn to look down on solar power.

So what are the factors that one has to consider to get a Solar Home System with optimum performance?

  1. Energy Audit
    To avoid being deceived, a customer(home-owner) must be able to calculate the amount of electricity in Kilowatt hours(Kwh) used each month and in a year. After that, power rating for each appliance has to be recorded to find out which appliance needs more power and which one has the lower rating.


Once the Energy audit is done, a customer must now have a clear picture as to which appliances consume alot of electricity based on the power rating and the time in hours those appliance are in use and which appliances do not consume alot of electricity. This forms the basis in selecting the appliances that can be connected to a solar home system. As a customer, it is important to note that the initial cost for a solar home system is high and so, determining and selecting critical appliances and loads to be powered is vital. One can start small and and add loads(appliances) to the system by increasing its Generation and output capacity to match the additional loads power demands.

Reaching this far, a customer is now in a position of choosing which appliances to use, and for how many hours per day to be powered by the solar system. A qualified personnel has to be engaged to help the customer come up with the optimum solar home system solution.

The customer has to select the loads to be powered by the system and the number of hours the selected appliance will be used in orde to come up with the total daily energy demand. Once this is calculated, the designer then using the Current rating parameter of the solar panels available comes up with s figure for the number of panels required for the appliances selected. Since solar panels produce DC voltage, an Inverter is required to convert DC voltage to AC voltage which most home loads/appliances use. The system also requires a charge controller that regulates the amount of charge going to the battery bank so that the batteries do not overcharge. It must be noted that some inverters do have built in charge controllers.

Night fall, what Happens?
Solar power is dependent on availability of the sun.
In-order to have uninterrupted power supply at Night, a batter bank has to be in-corperated to store the electricity produced during the day. Clarity must be made during system design calculations in-order to store and get enough power to be used at Night for the specified number of hours.

Only those appliances/loads selected during the system design should be used and connected. if appliances not specified during the selection stage are plugged in, more power is withdrawn and so, can only sustain the system for a few hours less than those used during the design stage and so the system fails as more power is being consumed that it is being produced. In cases where new appliances are to be introduced, the customer has to consult the system designer so that it gets upgraded to match the new electricity needs.


21st century it is, and despite an upsurge in
electricity access as well as the development of technologies that generate electricity, nearly 573 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are yet to access electricity, the largest access deficit globally. With most families living on almost a dollar per day, electricity is viewed as a luxury on their priority list since the cost is high as compared to conventional energy sources, yet to foster economic growth and sustainability, electricity plays a major role. Electricity is not an end in itself but a means to an end in various sectors such as health, industry and manufacturing among others.

Net metering

The introduction of Inclusive business models, policies and incentives that promote use of Renewable Energy technologies has seen an increase in use of products such as solar panels for electricity generation in areas with low access to electricity.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, low generation capacity is the major challenge in ensuring that households are connected to the national grid. Though governments have implemented the Rural Electrification Program, the focus is on the trading centers with proven economic activities and not actual households per say.


In addressing inadequate power generation capacity, Sub-Saharan countries have resorted to
Independent Power Producers, using power purchase agreements to boost the power available in the National grid. An independent power producer (IPP) or non-utility generator (NUG) is an entity, which is not a public utility, but which owns facilities to generate electric power for sale to utilities and end users. NUGs may be privately held facilities, corporations, cooperatives such as rural solar or wind energy producers, and non-energy industrial concerns capable of feeding excess energy into the system.


The coming in of IPPs has benefited Sub-Saharan countries not only in improving grid stability but also, introduction of mini grids that are supplying electricity to a designated rural area and village, creating a Decentralized energy system.

The least expensive way to achieve universal electricity access is through use of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy grid connected
systems have the potential to deliver affordable and clean electricity access to millions, coupled with stand alone photovoltaic systems. Decentralized solutions as a whole are the least-cost way to provide power to more than half of the population gaining access to electricity.


Imagine every household in sub-Saharan Africa having its own power generating unit, a rooftop with solar panels with a battery bank, and being able to sell excess power generated to the national
utility grid, using net metering and grid tie solutions. Im as much as access to electricity can increase, economic growth can be fostered as households will be able to make money as power producers.

Net metering is a system that allows domestic or commercial home owners who generate their own electricity using solar panels to sale their surplus electricity generated back to the national grid. a rate has to be agreed between the utility provider and the home owner.Then, at night or other times when your solar panels are under-producing, you pull energy from the grid and use these credits to offset the costs of that energy.

How Net Metering Works

Net meters work in that they generate data on how much electricity is being generated and how much electricity is being consumed at that household.
The data is then accumulated in the appropriate register over the billing cycle and the bill is calculated basing on the rate agreed.
Under net metering, the electricity generated by your system and consumed in your home, you pay nothing for this electricity. Whenever the solar power system generation exceeds your homes consumption, this excess amount is exported to the grid and you may earn a feed-in tariff for this exported solar electricity. Check your energy retailers solar feed-in tariff policy.

Taking advantage of power inter-connection agreements, Sub-Saharan African countries can benefit alot from net metering options in ensuring the available of a regional stable grid whilst empowering citizens economic wis


food Safety

A Food Safety Management System has to have a system that enables the identification of Product lots with respect to the batches of raw materials, processing and delivery records. in order to do so, a business sets a traceability system for such.

An effective traceability system has to be able to identify incoming material from the suppliers and the Distribution route taken, process flows involved up to the end Product. It is therefore required that the records for traceability be kept and maintained per adventure there is Product withdrawal or unsafe products handling. This ensures that the actual raw materials used for that production batch are tracked effectively so that only that affected batch is withdrawn.

In cases where products do not conform to the set standards, measures have to be set in order to ensure that the system runs according to set standards. This is the control of nonconforming products. There are two ways of controlling nonconformity:

when critical limits for Critical Control Points are exceeded, or in cases where there is loss of control of Operational prerequisite programs, affected products have to be identified and controlled in accordance to their use and purpose. Well documented procedures have to be set, with details on how they are identified in order to ensure that they are handled properly. For such, colour codes are sometimes used to mark the affected end products.


Corrective actions are initiated when critical limits are exceeded or when there is a lack of conformity with the set Operational prerequisite programs. a business sets procedures that specify the pertinent actions in order to identify and eliminate the cause of nonconforming products, so as to prevent the repetition, and also, restore the system back to control to avoid further nonconformance. The actions include but are not Limited to:

  1. Review of nonconforming products
  2. Determining causes of nonconformities
    3.setting required actions to ensure that nonconformities do not occur
  3. keeping records of the corrective actions taken

A Business has to take action on all nonconforming products so as to ensure that the products do not enter the food supply system and market. as such, the business has to ensure that before entering the food supply system,

1.Food Hazards connected to the nonconformance are reduced to the acceptable levels. for example, Aflatoxin levels, in groundnuts

  1. Associated food safety Hazards are to be reduced to appropriate acceptable levels identified before entering the food supply market.

In cases where products leave the control of the the business and are on the market, and still, are determined to be unsafe, the business has to notify all stakeholders and initiate s Product recall or withdrawal. this has to be documented for record purposes.

After the recall, there is need to evaluate the Product batch in-order to find out whether reprocessing or reworking reduce and or eliminate the Hazards and so certified as acceptable.

If the product lot is not acceptable for release on the food supply market, even after reprocessing, then it has to be destructed or disposed off as waste.