Transitioning the Malawi Country Office to a greener future

July 28, 2022
UNDP Malawi - Transitioning the Malawi Country Office to a greener future

The installed solar PV system has a total capacity of 32 kWp, making it one of the main sources of electricity for the Malawi CO

UNDP has set a Moonshot target of reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 25% by the year 2025 and 50% by 2030. 

This requires reducing GHG emissions from the top three sources — air travel, facility energy, and vehicle fuel.

It is in this regard that UNDP Malawi Country Office (CO) is pursuing a transition to 100 percent reliance on green energy in accordance with Smart UN Facilities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to move towards a greener future.

The Malawi CO made the decision to actively participate in the Greening Moonshot Target, a UNDP initiative, in the transition to a greener future with the aim to demonstrate how Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems, a form of renewable energy, may help reduce GHG emissions while also bringing the organization economic and social benefits. 

The CO received a grant of $37,000 in November 2021 from the Moonshot Fund and topped it up with $33,000 from the office’s core budget. A Solar PV system was recently installed on the roof of the UNDP CO in Malawi with 68 solar panels installed on the roof of Block B.

The transition has been developed in close cooperation with the Green Energy Team (GET) of the UNDP Information and Technology Management (ITM) in Copenhagen, Denmark. With these initiatives taking root, the Malawi CO will be able to lower its monthly electricity expenditures while also decreasing its reliance on diesel generators and the national grid, effectively helping to lessen the overall negative environmental damage.

In Malawi, grid electricity is unreliable and the CO experiences daily power outages of between 4-8 hours. Therefore, to meet the consumption needs, the CO has been using a 110-kVA diesel generator that was installed in 2015. This generator consumes 2500 litres of diesel in a month and the cost of diesel is 1.2 USD/litre. The Country Office will now save up to $33,000 annually on diesel because of the installed solar solution.

The Hybrid Solar PV system is expected to provide around 100 percent of the total electricity demand of Block C. However, with the current load, an extension to other blocks will be needed soon. In the event of an emergency, the current diesel generator will be used as a backup.

UNDP Malawi Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara, believes that by setting a positive example for the local community and inspiring them to embrace comparable solutions, this initiative will shift the narrative of clean and renewable energy.

He said: “The installation of the solar PV system at the UNDP Malawi Country Office is a ground-breaking milestone that will redirect the course of our functions at UNDP Malawi towards a green future. I am proud of this new development, and I am confident that it will positively influence our surrounding communities to embrace clean energy.”

Looking ahead, as part of our commitment to the global climate agenda, the CO is now shifting its gears towards leading the decarbonization of land transport which is a significant source of Greenhouse Gas emissions and airborne pollutants affecting people’s health in cities by procuring electric rechargeable vehicles in the near future.