The NextEnergy Foundation conference at Njaya Lodge

We are convinced that everything good that can be achieved in Malawi will be done through partnerships. I seem to spend a huge proportion of my time on these trips meeting with other organisations to work out what we can do together, to have a bigger impact. So it was great to be in the beautiful setting of Njaya Lodge in Nkhata Bay to discuss how we can make the best use of solar power. There were impressive presentations by Empower, who have installed solar lighting in all 285 schools in Nkhata Bay District and by the Solar Academy, who are training technicians to install and maintain solar energy systems.

Beautiful Lake Malawi

We presented our work – using the power of the sun to provide irrigation, to extend shelf life through drying fruit, and to run our chill stores to reduce post harvest losses. Solar power doesn’t solve everything because you only get power for a short part of the day, but the technology is moving fast and more and more is being achieved through solar systems.

At the NextEnergy Workshop, all the talk was of technology – next generation pv panels, improved lithium batteries – but I was reminded I was in Malawi when I heard one of the speakers asking the cook if he could prepare dinner for him: he had hit a rabbit on his drive over and could the cook clean and prepare it!