Escom to add 70 mega watts solar power by 2018

The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi has revealed plans to add 70 Mega Watts (MW) of solar power to the national grid by 2018 while poor Malawians continue to experience power blackouts despite it being rainy season.

Solar BTS

According to Escom, the expected 70MW is one of its short-term mitigation measures that it is implementing against the prevailing power crisis as it not able to generate power to its maximum capacity due to dwindling water levels in Lake Malawi.

The 70MW is expected to be supplied by Independent Power Producers (IPPs). Recently Escom added 10MW to the national grid generated through diesel gen-sets.

Escom has been courting interested IPPs in order to familiarize them with the bidding requirements and process.

In statement issued by the power supplier, four sites in Salima, Nkhotakota, Lilongwe and Golomoti have been selected for the IPPs to set up and establish power stations that will supply power to the institution.

“These power stations are expected to be complete and fully operational by October 2018,” reads the statement in part.

An addition of 70MW will increase the country’s power capacity to 361MW from 431MW, and Escom believes this will reduce load shedding periods and frequencies.

The IPPs will be generating power through Solar Photovoltaic Power systems. A photovoltaic Power system generates power by converting light into electricity using solar panels.

Meanwhile, Malawians are experiencing long hours of blackouts despite the country receiving good rainfall this year which was expected to improve water levels in Lake Malawi thereby help Escom generate enough power to meet demand.

Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) saying this is due to low levels on Shire River. Most parts of the country are having no electricity for as long as six hours or more, in the process choking production in all spheres of economic life.

Egenco says in a statement that the water in Shire River was 1.5 metres last year during the drought and has just risen just by 0.26 metres this since the onset of the rains.

According to Egenco, the water has just risen from 473.5 metres from 473.0 metres in the river not enough to drive the power generation machines.

Egenco says it is controlling water at Liwonde Barrage to ensure that power generation continues.

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2 thoughts on “Escom to add 70 mega watts solar power by 2018”

  1. m x says:

    what they know best is kuba, they shall always find an excuse

  2. Consumer says:

    I wonder that during the month of December and January there was a great improvement on load shading. it is surprising that for the past two weeks the shading has reached unacceptable levels. Imagine power goes of at 4 am and you get back power the following day at around mid night and goes off again at 4 am and so on.
    This is happening at Chatha Chileka. The question is what has gone wrong again to reach these levels.
    Are we saying we have more water in December and January than now? I still believe there is something seriously wrong. There is something we are not told i suppose. Now you are telling us long term projects !! We need results now. If these load shading continues then its disaster.

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