Ntchisi communities access affordable solar energy

About 600 households and primary schools in Traditional Authority Kasakula in Ntchisi District are accessing affordable solar energy with support from Sunny Money, a social enterprise owned by Solar Aid, a United Kingdom based charity organisation. 

Under the initiative dubbed ‘Light a Village Programme (LaV)’, all the ten primary schools in Chikho Education Zone in Traditional Authority Kasakula, including teachers’ houses and the teacher development centre as well as individual households in the area have been installed with solar power system, according to the organisation’s General Manager, Brave Mhone.

Mhone: The solar power has been installed in many households and schools

“The project aims at ensuring that every household in the study region has access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy,” said Mhone, adding that the solar systems are used for lighting and phone charging.

Each customer pays K70 a day or K2, 100 a month through mobile money platforms like Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba to access the solar power. 

“The response is very good and we are planning to install 2000 systems by September 2023,” said Mhone.   

According to Mhone, they started working in T.A. Kasakula in September, last year upon recommendation by the District Education Office since the area is hard-to-reach.

Communications Manager for Solar Aid/Sunny Money, Haley Withers, said the organisation’s vision is to have every home, school and clinic have access to light by 2030.

Withers: Our vision is to connect all households by 2030

Ntchisi Acting District Education Manager, Hammex Malithano, described the project as a welcome development, saying it will improve quality education through increased pass rate and motivation to teachers.

“Chikho is the only zone which is not yet connected to the national grid, hence the coming in of the solar powered system is commendable as teachers will be able to prepare for their lessons during the night as well as charge their phones,” he said.

Senior Chief Kasakula said much as the project is benefitting communities in his area, he would have loved the cost to be reduced.

He also suggested for an upgrade so that those with television screens should be able to connect to the solar power system.

“K2, 100 per month is rather on a higher side to a person in the village. Again, it would have been better if it was pay per use,” said Kasakula.

The organization is implementing the project in all the districts in the country, except Likoma. 

Similar projects are also taking place in Zambia and Senegal.