German firm to install floating solar panels on Lake Malawi for energy generation

One of the independent power producers (IPPs) that have signed power purchase agreements with Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM), German firm Droege Energy, intends to install floating solar power panels on the Lake Malawi at Monkey Bay in Mangochi to generate power to be linked onto the ESCOM grid.

EGENCO’s CEO Liabunya (right) signing the PPA with Chiwaya
QUANTLEL’s CEO Fields displays his PPA in company of ESCOM’s CEO Dr. Chiwaya
The top table chaired by Mpinganjira (centre)

This was disclosed at the signing ceremony of 14 power purchase agreements (PPAs) involving ESCOM, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and three other IPPs held on Monday at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.

Droege Energy’s Strategic Key Account Manager, Carlos Giron said this project, operating in Mangochi under the name of Monkey Bay Solar Floating Plant Limited, will be the first of its kind in Africa and the project is expected to be completed within a year to generate 20 megawatts of power.

“We want to build a project that all Malawians will be proud of and to boast of as this will be the first of its kind in Africa,” Giron said. “Malawians should also expect to be provided with the best and affordable energy services once this project rolls of.”

Another project that Droege Energy has signed the PPA with ESCOM is the Mphamvu Mzimba Wind Farm Limited, which is expected to generate 50 megawatts of power and will also be the first of its kind in the southern part of Africa in as far as wind powered energy generation is concerned.

Three other IPPs that have signed the PPAs are QUANTEL Renewable Energy Limited, Kanengo Solar Project Limited, Atlas and Energy Generation Company (EGENCO).

QUANTEL’s Chief Executive Officer, Melvin Fields said the signing of this PPA is a clear manifestation of ESCOM’s commitment to eradicate the electricity challenges facing the country.

“The PPA signed today is within the framework of a foreign direct investment (FDI) which shall see QUANTEL Renewable Energy and its partners build a 50 megawatts solar PV energy-powered facility park in the Northern part of Malawi at Ulalo Nyirenda Village, T/A Jalavikuwa Bwengu  in Mzimba District.

“QUANTEL Renewable Energy Ltd is a Consortium of American Companies incorporated in Malawi through partnership with a local company, Inspired Group Limited to produce solar energy.”

He said QUANTEL did feasibility studies in Malawi in 2016 in Salima, Karonga and Mzimba districts and that in August last year, ESCOM approved the Mzimba Bwengu site for the development of the 50 megawatts solar power Park, which is on 125 acres of land.

Both ESCOM and MERA were upbeat of this development, which in total now has 20 IPPs and expected to generate extra energy close to 367 megawatts.

ESCOM Board’s chairperson, Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira strongly implored the IPPs to honour their part of the bargain by making sure they complete their projects wishing the time frame they have signed for.

He said other IPPs have let ESCOM and MERA down by failing to roll out their projects except Mulanje Hydro.

“This, however, is a moment we can be proud of as we strive to provide the best energy services across the country and even beyond our borders,” he said.

Both CEOs of ESCOM, Dr. Allexon Chiwaya and MERA’s Dr. Collins Magalasi applauded the IPPs saying this was a historic moment in making sure load shedding and power blackouts should be a thing of the past.

Chiwaya and Magalasi both said this time around there is a provision that those that will fail to deliver within the time frame indicated, their licenses shall be revoked and offered to those with the capacity.

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Ken Phiri
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Ken Phiri

Something doesnt sound right about the floating solar panels. Has env and social impact assessment been done? I dont feel comfortable about this

There are many other users of Lake Mslawi including fishermen, swimmers, lake transport etc. How are these going to be impacted by the floating solar pabels?

We slso have gas and oil in Lake Malawi. I hope this aspect will not be compromised by this project.

Ndiye poti tikuvota lero let the new administration that will be voted in plz look into this carefully

concerned citizen
Guest
concerned citizen

Floating solar panels are a reality. Mozambique has done it on the indian ocean. Iyi ndi technology imene ilipo and its working. Osamatsutsa zinthu zomwe mulibe nazo information.

Joha
Guest
Joha

I belive this must be the 20th IPP. Government started signing agreements with IPPs almost 10 yrs ago, but no single one of them has materialised, next time just show us the project ts whenuts done, we r tired of an ending paper work 😂

Noxy
Guest

That’s why APM is Great!

Nyusesi
Guest

Why floating?

el_kabir
Guest
el_kabir

Of all the places why installing them on Lake Malawi? What’s with lake Malawi? Can you justify this act please! Its high time we hav to stop signing mediocre deals

Section 1000
Guest
Section 1000

It’s an issue to do with land and areas where solar radiation is high. Malawi is overpopulated and to use land for solar instead of farming it becomes an economic joke to the rural masses who uses less of the bargain from such investments but if they use the same land for farming the feel they honoured and respected as it directly uplifts their lives. So economically it is cheap to build such a thing in water as land will be expensive and also solar radiation is high on water as compared to areas on land in most parts of… Read more »

mtete
Guest
mtete

Please be weary of the “First Of It’s Kind” type of projects. Where else in the world, let alone Africa, has such project been successfully implemented? I hope ESCOM and EGENCO have been given an opportunity to access such projects elsewhere. We should not be a TESTING ground for new technologies.

Security official
Guest
Security official

Floating Solar panels pa Lake Malawi, koma EIA mwapanga, dont you see any hidden motive by the German Company? Sakufuna zina ndi zina pa nyanjapo. I hope all is well