Malawi needs technology roadmap for national PV drive

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South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched a tender to seek consultants for the definition of a technology roadmap for solar development in Malawi.

The roadmap will have to be part of the Incubator Program of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) – a consortium led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with the UN’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and 11 centers of excellence, including the CSIR and UNEP’s Risø Centre.

Malawi has committed to 20,000 PV systems and will increase the number to 50,000 by 2030. The new technology roadmap is expected to help the country implement these climate change objectives, the CSIR said in the tender document. The selected consultant will have to set precise objectives, activities to undertake and time-specific milestones and targets.

“The new roadmap is is expected to serve as a tool to assess feasibility, develop business and financial models for the widescale development and use of solar PV in the country, and prepare for investment,” the CSIR said.

Malawi has so far taken small steps in solar, the most important the tender for 40 MW of PV launched in February. The expression of interest for the tender was issued by Malawian independent power producer JCM Matswani Solar Corp Limited, and was intended to select EPC contractors for the construction of utility scale facilities to sell power to local utility ESCOM under a 20 year PPA.

With a population of approximately 19 million people, the landlocked nation has power generation capacity of around 363 MW, around 90% of which comes from hydropower with the remaining 10% from 17 MW of PV. Access to power in Malawi’s rural areas is currently only 5%, with 46% in urban areas. Overall, electricity access is only 12% and the government aims to increase that figure to 30% by 2030.