Press Releases

Malawi takes bold steps to increase access to solar lights

We are pleased to report that, after lobbying the Malawian authorities, together with the Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi (REIMA) and the wider solar sector, on the 18th February 2022, the Malawi Government took the decision to remove import duties (15 – 30%) on entry level solar lights.

This is hugely important. In a country where 96% of the rural population lack access to electricity, it is widely recognised that solar lanterns can play a vital role in helping light up rural off grid communities. They offer a clean, safe, alternative to dangerous, polluting, candles and kerosene lanterns. This move by the Malawi Government will help make solar lights, designed to meet the lighting needs of rural communities living without access to electricity, more affordable. It will help us bring an end to reliance on dangerous forms of lighting, such as candles.

Brave Mhonie, General Manager for SolarAid and SunnyMoney in Malawi, as well as Treasurer at REIAMA says, “We are thrilled that the Malawian Government has taken this bold step to remove import duties. This will help us achieve our dream, which is to ensure that everyone can access, clean, safe, solar lighting and power in Malawi. This has very much been a team effort and we are proud to have been collaborating with REIAMA, calling for this change. We thank the Malawi Government for making this change.”

REIMA was established in 1999 by the Malawi Government through the Ministry of Energy as the voice of the solar sector in Malawi. By working together with REIMA, we can help support the development of a strong and vibrant solar sector.

“This is timely and an important milestone towards achieving affordable and sustainable energy access for rural communities in Malawi. We are proud to be collaborating with the wider sector towards this common goal, to help Malawi continue on its path towards ensuring universal access to electricity by 2030,” says Soustain Chigalu, President of REIAMA.

At SolarAid, we always seek to work in partnership with governments to help transition towards a society where everyone, no matter where they live, has access to clean, safe, solar lighting and power.

John Keane, CEO of SolarAid states, “Access to electricity is vital if we are to help improve quality of life and build the resilience of communities across Malawi. These are communities who have contributed the least towards the climate emergency we are in, but who are being hit the hardest, with multiple catastrophic cyclones hitting the region in recent years.”

 

SolarAid: Established in 2006, SolarAid is a UK based, international charity that combats poverty and climate change. Through its social enterprise, SunnyMoney, they are working with entrepreneurs, schools and clinics to distribute solar lights to people living without electricity in Zambia in Malawi. http://solar-aid.org @SolarAid

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