Solar, storage system for water treatment in Malawi


Spain-based solar developer RIC Energy has finished the construction of a 1.3 MW solar plant and 4.5 MWh storage system for water treatment in Mzuzu, Malawi.

The installation features 540 W monocrystalline modules and lithium-ion (LiFePO4) batteries from undisclosed manufacturers, a RIC Energy spokesperson told pv magazine. It provides and stores electricity to power two water treatment plants and five water pumping stations in the East African country.

“The water is sourced from Lunyangwa River, treated, and supplied to the population through a reticulated urban water supply system,” the spokesperson said.

The hybrid system will power the supply of water to more than 200,000 people, according to a RIC Energy statement. It is expected to reach an annual power output of 2.2 GWh and avoid 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The European Investment Bank fully financed the project, to a total of €2.83 million ($2.99 million).

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“The construction of this project, which has made one of Malawi's largest water supply systems self-sufficient in energy, has made a significant contribution to the stability of the local water supply system in a country with an unstable electricity grid and where supply problems and blackouts are common,” RIC Energy said in a statement.

The Spanish company also built a hybrid solar and storage system for a water desalinization plant in Cape Verde in 2021. It is looking at doing similar projects for water supply in other parts of Africa, the spokesperson told pv magazine.

According to the latest statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Malawi had an estimated cumulative solar capacity of 142 MW at the end of 2021.

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