The Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has started generating and supplying power to Likoma Island with solar power, a move that is expected to free up resources the energy firm was channelling towards diesel purchases for the generators.
In an interview yesterday, Egenco spokesperson Moses Gwaza said following the roll-out of the K3.2 billion one megawatt (MW) project, the people of Likoma now have three times their energy demand, which is pegged at 300 kilowatts.
He said: “The capacity is one MW which is more than enough for the current demand. This is the beginning of our diversification process through which we want to reduce over-reliance on hydro-generation from 95 percent to 72 percent in five years.
“We are currently spending K13 million on diesel alone for Likoma. So, the project will help us save some resources.”
The project was earmarked to be completed by July 31 2020, but delayed as technical teams could not fly into the country due to travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito yesterday expressed excitement with the development, saying it has been a long and bad experience for Likoma electricity users who were denied access to electricity.
“This is a welcome development and we hope such projects can be extended to most parts of the country that do not have access to electricity and we hope Egenco will ensure continuous maintenance of this magnificent project and that it doesn’t become a short-term event,” he said.
On his part, energy expert Grain Malunga observed that while this is an improvement of energy mix for Malawi, it also means a reduction in energy generation cost.