Towards a Green Transition in Lesotho's Country Office

January 31, 2022

Lesotho UN House

In pursuit of adopting green energy in line with Smart UN Facilities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UNDP Lesotho’s Country Office (CO) is embarking on a journey towards a greener future.

The Lesotho CO decided to take an active part in transitioning towards a greener future and wants to be able to show how renewable energy options in the form of solar PV systems can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions whilst at the same time providing economic and social benefits to organizations. These efforts in the UNDP CO in Lesotho will be implemented through the upcoming instalment of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on its roof.

This transition towards a greener future has been shaped in close collaboration with the UNDP Information and Technology Management’s (ITM) Green Energy Team (GET) based in Copenhagen, Denmark. With these efforts coming to the ground, the Lesotho CO will be able to cut down on their monthly electricity costs while at the same time reducing dependency on the national grid and diesel generators, contributing to the reduction of the overall environmental footprint of UNDP operations. In addition, this project is part of the Greening UNDP Moonshot Initiative and aligns with its commitment of reducing UNDP’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030. These efforts will advance the progress on the SDG affordable green energy.

With an objective of providing a stable energy source for the Lesotho CO, the proposed solar PV system will have a total capacity of 35 kWp, thus becoming one of the main sources of electricity for the CO. The system will provide a stable energy supply for the Lesotho CO by covering around 28% of the Lesotho CO’s energy demand and providing electricity supply up to 54,669 kWh per annum. However, the existing diesel generator will remain as a backup in the case of an emergency.

The initial investment of $71,193 USD is expected to be earned back within a period of 15 years through the generation of annual savings of $6,321 USD. The solar PV system is also expected to save 28.5 tonnes of CO₂ emissions yearly. The CO2 emissions avoided correspond with those of 324 laptops being used 8 hours per day for a year. This project bolsters the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals while also promoting green energy solutions and inspiring local communities to adopt similar solutions.

In addition to the environmental and economic benefits, the solar PV project will also serve as a benchmark for raising awareness about new energy solutions among the local community. Betty Wabunoha, UNDP Lesotho Resident Representative, believes that this project will become an inspiration by creating an example for the local communities and encouraging them to adopt similar solutions. She says,

“At the national level, the CO will be actively contributing to the national development commitments through the initiative and thereby serving as an example to national government of how the public sector could move to more sustainable means of power. As the pilot initiative in the UN House Lesotho, UNDP Lesotho will be trail-blazing this initiative from which the wider UN Lesotho can learn from and build upon to serve the wider UN House.”

The groundbreaking ceremony for this installation will take place on the 31st of January, 2022 at 15:30 SAST (14:30 CET).