September 30, 2013
The Japanese Government handed over the solar generating equipment that has been installed at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe. The handover ceremony was held on 30th September, 2013. The Minister of Energy, Honourable Ibrahim Matola and the Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, His Excellency Mr Fujio Samukawa were the guests of honour during the ceremony.
This project that was entitled Introduction of Clean Energy by Solar Electricity Generation system was implemented from September 2012 to August 2013 through supervision of JICA Malawi. The equipment will generate the maximum of 830 kilowatts of electricity which is enough to supply power to the airport including nearby staff residences. The surplus generated electricity is being provided to the country's grid. This project was funded through the Japanese Government's financial mechanism entitled, "Cool Earth Partnership" in which Malawi was identified as one of the beneficiaries. Through this initiative, Japan decided to cooperate actively with developing countries' initiatives to reduce Greenhouse Gas emission such as efforts to enhance energy efficiency, and providing support for those suffering from severe adverse impacts as a result of climate change. Kamuzu International Airport was deliberately identified to be the location of the project, mindful of the fact that this airport is used by different people of influence and decision makers from public and private organisations in Malawi who will emulate this project and initiate projects of similar nature in their respective sectors of the society.
In his remarks, The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi stated that this is so far the biggest solar system ever installed in Malawi and will showcase clean renewable energy development in the country and the airport is going to make a significant saving in its operations costs incurred through electricity bills, improved stability and reliability of electricity. In his speech, The Minister of Energy in Malawi expressed his appreciation to the Japanese Government for its assistance towards development the energy sector in Malawi, a country with electricity supply of 288 Megawatts against the national requirement of 350 Megawatts. He reiterated the government's efforts towards improvement of energy supply through the short and medium term development plans namely the Economic Recovery Plan and Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. He however lamented over the increased incidences of vandalism which is affecting the energy sector and assured the Japanese Government that maximum security will be provided to the equipment to avoid damage through theft.
JICA Malawi's Resident Representative, Mr Katsuro Saito urged Airport Developments Limited, the sole custodian of the installed equipment, to increase their power generation efficiency by periodical maintenance. He further urged them to make their best effort to publicise this project to the users of this airport and the public in general in order to promote their understanding towards the cool earth initiative.
Nippon Koei’s officials briefing the Japanese Ambassador to Malawi and The Minister of Energy
Some of the solar generating panels that were installed at the airport
The Japanese Ambassador to Malawi and Minister of Energy cutting a ribbon at the entrance of the Control Room