1. Basic Statistics of Malawi

The total population of Malawi is about 18 million. The average annual GDP growth rate from 2017 to 2019 is roughly 3-4%. The country is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an underdeveloped economy and a large part of the government. It is to rely on foreign aid to satisfy the country’s economic construction and development. Malawi is famous for its tobacco production. Tobacco exports account for more than 60% of the country’s total foreign exchange. In terms of political situation, the local corruption problem is serious, and the national situation is not optimistic. The presidential election was completed at the end of June this year, and the opposition party representative Lazarus Chakwera (Lazarus Chakwera) won. The winning Chakwera was expected to solve the political problem of corruption.

Geographically, Malawi is located in southeastern Africa, with a long and narrow terrain. It is adjacent to Zambia in the west, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique to the east and south. The terrain of Malawi is diverse. There are rift valleys, plateaus, highlands, and mountains. The Great Rift Valley runs through the entire country. The western part of the territory is dominated by plateau topography, with an average elevation of about 1,500-2,400 meters. The highland terrain is mostly about 1,000 meters above sea level, and the south is mostly lowland.

In terms of climatic conditions, Malawi has a savannah climate, with an average annual temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius. The cool and dry season is from May to August, and the rainy season is from November to April. In terms of temperature, the average temperature in plateau areas is about 15.5-18 degrees Celsius, while in rift valleys it is 20-24.5 degrees Celsius. July is usually the coldest month of the year and the lowest temperature can reach 7 degrees Celsius. The average amount of sunshine is about 3.7-4.7 kWh per square meter per day.

2. Overview of renewable energy development in Malawi

The degree of electrification in Malawi is only 12%, which is not as high as 20%-30% in other African neighboring countries. The degree of electrification in rural areas is only 4%. How to obtain electricity and independent power generation to meet the basic needs of people’s livelihood Demand has become an important issue in Malawi.

In August 2018, Malawi issued the National Energy Policy, which aims to achieve 23% of renewable energy power generation by 2030. It also plans to allow 30% of the country’s population to have access to electricity by 2030.

Malawi’s main renewable energy projects focus on photovoltaics and biomass energy. The reason for choosing biomass energy is that more than 80% of the population in Malawi use firewood and charcoal as energy sources. It is hoped that these substances will be left behind. Organic raw materials are converted into biomass energy for use. On the other hand, photovoltaic is one of the projects promoted due to natural geographical conditions and rapid cost reduction in recent years, plus to meet the electricity demand of off-grid areas.

Insufficient deployment of the power grid in Malawi is also a major problem. As early as 2012, the Malawi government introduced feed-in tariffs to promote the development of biomass energy and photovoltaic industries. However, as of the end of 2019, Malawi’s biomass energy and photovoltaic projects The total installed capacity of the grid is only 35MW. The reason for the small number is that the local power grid has been insufficiently deployed so far, which has led to a low degree of electrification. In addition, the national financial situation has not been ideal for many years. Therefore, despite the smooth installation of power stations, it may also face The absence of electricity to generate electricity or the inability to obtain subsidies has led to the failure of the feed-in tariff policy.

As in the previous analysis, the total installed capacity of renewable energy (bioenergy + photovoltaic) in Malawi is 35MW, of which photovoltaic accounts for 66% and biomass energy 34%. In March 2017, the Malawi government stated in the Renewable Energy Strategy that it plans to issue a 70MW photovoltaic bid. In September 2018, Malawi has completed the 60MW power purchase PPA under the label. With blessings and the absence of large-scale biomass energy project planning in the near future, photovoltaics are expected to have a higher proportion in Malawi’s installed capacity.

3. Overview of photovoltaic development in Malawi

As in the previous analysis, Malawi has not set an installation target for photovoltaics. Although the Malawi government has issued renewable energy feed-in tariffs in 2012, photovoltaics have also been included. However, taking into account the poor local economic situation, poor infrastructure, and Insufficient power grid deployment and other factors, in fact, subsidies have limited stimulus to photovoltaics. In 2012, the photovoltaic feed-in tariff was introduced and the installed capacity by the end of 2019 only grew from 3MW to 23MW.

After the on-grid tariff was difficult to drive photovoltaic demand, the Malawi government changed to a bidding system to increase photovoltaic demand. In March 2017, the Malawi government stated in the Renewable Energy Strategy (Renewable Energy Strategy) that it plans to issue a 70MW photovoltaic bid. In fact, a 60MW IPP project was signed in 2018, and JCM Matswani Solar won the bid. These projects are scheduled to be completed and connected to the grid in 2020. At the same time, it can be estimated from the customs shipment volume in 2019 to 78MW, and most of these components are expected to be used in the projects signed in 2018.

The current demand for PV in Malawi is driven by IPP projects, but the number of projects introduced is scattered, and it may be difficult to make a big announcement in the short term. The newly appointed president has not made a clear statement and policy launch on PV development. Looking to the longer-term future, if the grid deployment can be improved and sufficient, the infrastructure can be more mature and complete, coupled with a sound financial situation to support the subsidy policy, the future demand for PV in Malawi may show explosive growth.


4. Malawi component import and export analysis

The 60MW IPP project signed in 2018 is planned to be completed and connected to the grid in 2020, which will start the pull response in 2019 and increase the export volume of modules in 2019 to 78.11MW in one go, and the total export volume in 2017-2018 is less than 10MW. Compared with export volume, there is a huge difference.

From the foregoing analysis, it can be found that IPP projects in Malawi play an important role in demand. At present, the demand for IPP projects in the country is still scattered. If there is no continuous release of large-scale projects in the future, demand is expected to be difficult to maintain growth. The high growth in 2019 may only be short-lived.

V. Summary

The degree of electrification in Malawi is only 12%, and the problem of power shortage in rural areas is even more serious. The implementation of energy popularization has become an important governance issue for the Malawi government. Currently, Malawi’s renewable energy projects focus on photovoltaics and biomass energy, and their installed capacity totaled 35MW by the end of 2019.

In terms of photovoltaic development, recently, photovoltaics benefited from the demand for IPP projects signed in 2018, resulting in a significant increase in module pull force in 2019, which is different from the shipment performance of 2017-2018. However, the demand for IPP projects after that is scattered. 2019 The year’s high shipment performance may be difficult to continue or will be a short-lived situation.

Looking to the longer-term future, if the grid deployment can be improved and sufficient, the infrastructure can be more mature and complete, and if there is a sound fiscal policy to support the development of subsidy policies, the future demand for PV in Malawi may have explosive growth. Performance.