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Escom to add 70 megawatts of power through solar

The Electricity Supply Corporation (Escom) is to add 70 megawatts of power to the national power grid through the use of solar power supplied by Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

According to a statement from the power utility, this was revealed during a pre-bid meeting that Escom held with interested IPPs at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre last week.

The meeting was meant to familiarise IPPs with the bidding requirements and process.

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

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 Escom.

“These power stations are expected to be complete and fully operational by October 2018,” says the statement sources from its website.

An addition of 70 megawatts will increase the country’s power capacity to 431 megawatts from 361 megawatts. It is expected that this will reduce load shedding periods and frequencies.

“The IPPs will be generating power through solar photovoltaic power systems,” says Escom management.

A photovoltaic power system generates power by converting light into electricity using solar panels.

Recently, Escom said it has distributed 150,000 of the targeted 350 thousand light emitting diode (LED) bulbs to reduce the amount of electricity Malawi uses for lighting.

Escom is distributing the nine and 12 watts Led bulbs as a way of reducing persistent black outs. The bulbs can save between 30 and 50 MW when the K4 billion project winds up.

Recently, Escom’s Public Relations Officer, George Mituka, said the power utility intends to get to all their customers.

However, Escom has started the programme with high density low income areas.

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