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Malawians encouraged to embrace solar energy amid power outages

Malawians encouraged to embrace solar energy amid power outages

By Lloyd M’bwana

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- Malawians were this week asked to embrace renewable energy, solar in a bid to contain power outages the country is currently experiencing.

The call comes amid the prolonged electricity blackouts, which has paralyzed the social-economic well being of the residents.

All sectors of the society, business, health facilities, manufacturing industries, are dipping hard in their pockets to outsources of power for their operations.

But speaking in a panel discussion on renewable energy regulations, standards and adoption in Malawi, which Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC), Oxfam and Christian Aid. held in Lilongwe this week, Joseph Kalowekamo, Energy Expert in the Ministry on Natural Resources, Energy, and Mines, said newable energy was an integral alternative to address the Malawi power crisis.

Kalowekamo observed that despite government commitment to open markets for solar energy materials, not many Malawians are embracing the technology.

He said if Malawi residents made use of the solar power technology, the energy challenge would be lessened for people livelihood rather than only relying on hydro-electricity.

The energy expert however, acknowledged the substandard products on solar energy on the market, which he said have contributed to low uptake of the products.

“As government is trying all it’s best with long-term mechanisms to address power outages, renewable energy might be the solution to this, which must be encouraged to all Malawi residents.

“The energy department will work hand in hand with the Malawi Buearau of Standard (MBS), to check all fake solar energy products on the market so that the public is provided with the best value for their money,” Kalowekamo said.

Juliana Isaac a local farmer, who was one of the panelists, urged government to reduce tax duties on solar energy products to allow many rural people access solar energy technology.

Juliana lauded that in her community, many residents have embraced solar energy, but the challenge remains with costs and durability of the products.

She said solar energy has improved daily social-economic activities in rural areas where Oxfam is providing the products for free, which she said government could have supported the initiative.

The panel discussions aimed at soliciting views on best practice in of implementing and enforcing the existing regulations, standards, and adoption of renewable energy technologies in Malawi.

The debate attracted energy experts both from government and private sector, civil society organizations, politicians, communities and the media.

Most contributors to the debate blamed the authorities for failing to find the lasting solutions to the energy crisis the country is experiencing.

Only 10% of Malawi’s population of 17 million has access to electricity,

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