Launch of the Solarization Project
UNDP Malawi Country Office transitioning to Solar energy
December 21, 2022
In its commitment to the Smart UN Facilities and the Sustainable Development Goals to move towards a greener future, UNDP Malawi officially launched its solar system installation to power its office buildings on 19 December 2022. The installed system aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while bringing other economic and social benefits to the office and staff.
The need for alternative power sources has never been greater for the Country Office. Malawi is currently going through national electricity supply crisis, with daily power outages that can go up to 12 hours and continue to affect people’s livelihoods and the nation as a whole.
With the 32 kWp + 37kWh solar system in place, the Country Office will now be able to save up to $33,000 annually on diesel, reduce on power outages that disrupt workflow, reduce noise pollution and harmful fumes, and showcase UNDP as an agency committed to demonstrating its trust in innovative solutions to development challenges.
In his remarks during the launch, UNDP Malawi Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara said: “This project is just one example of the many ways in which the UNDP is working to support the transition to a more sustainable energy future. From providing technical assistance to the Government of Malawi and businesses, to supporting the deployment of renewable energy technologies, we are committed to helping communities to access the energy they need to thrive”.
In attendance to the symbolic launch were some of UNDP’s partners in the energy sector including, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi, Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy, The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi Limited and other service providers.
Speaking on behalf of the partners, The President of Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi, Mr. Soustain Chigalu, hailed the solar installation initiative and UNDP’s programmatic support in working with Government, private sector, academia, and other partners in scaling up of clean energy mini grids in rural areas, providing sustainable energy to the health sector and helping to strengthen national policies on renewable energy, amongst others.
“A Project like this goes beyond providing energy. It also helps create other social benefits, like employment. So, the more we implement such projects, the more we empower our communities and bring in impact,” said Mr. Soustain.
The Malawi Office is also currently on a campaign to advocate and support staff for the solarizing of their households as part of the ‘walking the talk’ for greening efforts. Other initiatives that the office has undertaken as part of its greening efforts include: mandatory ‘Greening the Blue’ course, using digital screen for internal weekly updates to save on paper-based notices, use of bicycles for nearby work meetings to minimize on carbon footprint and to promote physical and mental wellness of staff, use of branded water flasks and bottles to replace plastic cups and bottled water, promoting the use of DocuSign platform to reduce on printing documents, and many other initiatives that are in the pipeline for 2023.