Solar-Aid: Light a Village Programme Update

Date: 03/11/2023

In March 2023, NextEnergy Foundation began supporting SolarAid’s Light a Village programme to bring solar energy to the poorest, last-mile communities in rural Malawi. The programme involves free installation of solar home systems (“SHSs”); flexible payment terms for energy use; and, ongoing repair and maintenance services. More details can be found the project page: SolarAid – NextEnergy Foundation.

The Malawian Government requested that the programme be piloted in the Traditional Authority, Kasakula, Ntchisi District because it has zero grid access and 97% of the population lives below the poverty line. The pilot is being carried out in a phased approach. Phases One and Two had a target of 2,500 homes. The target has been exceeded: 2,500 SHSs have been installed, covering 100% of the households in the 5 largest village units in Kasakula, and an additional 76 have been installed in schools and on the homes of teachers at their request.

Approximately half of the Traditional Authority has been covered by the programme. SolarAid is planning a Phase Three in order to reach 100% of the households in the Traditional Authority in 2024.

The average weekly usage is 89%. SolarAid has commissioned Imani Development to conduct a local monitoring and evaluation survey on the programme; it will focus on customer satisfaction; customer service representatives’ performance; and, will help to understand why some individuals do not use the systems on a daily basis. The results will feed into Phase Three. This will be the first time a community in Malawi where the majority of households are living in extreme poverty has affordable access to solar energy.