African sun energy, university of Glasgow to bring solar power to Africa

Botswana’s Eunice Ntobedzi, who is the CEO of African Sun Energy, is a key driver of this exemplary South-South collaboration project

African sun energy, university  of Glasgow to bring solar power to Africa

African Sun Energy (ASE) has collaborated with the University of Glasgow to provide solar photovoltaic systems at the Blantyre Research Facility. This is one of several international collaborations involving a Botswana company. 

The University of Glasgow’s Dean of Global Engagement (Africa & Middle East), Prof. Paul Garside, has won a prestigious Scottish Funding Council, Global Challenges Research Fund award to install a groundbreaking solar energy system to the Blantyre Research Facility, which is housed within the College of Medicine (COM) at the University of Malawi. 

The facility, funded by the Scottish Government International Development Department, is a state-of-the-art laboratory that boasts cutting edge microscopy, diagnostic, and cryo-freezing storage facilities. This initiative is particularly special as Prof. Garside and Dr. Mwapatsa Mipando, immediate past principal of COM, has teamed up with Eunice Ntobedzi, who is a Chevening Scholarship beneficiary and a University of Glasgow MSc graduate and the University of Glasgow 2019 winner of the World Changing Alumni award. 

Ntobedzi is the CEO of Africa Sun Energy Ltd, which is based in Botswana and aims to bring inexpensive solar power to more than 660 million Africans who are currently without access to electricity.

In addition to installing the new solar power system to the Malawi research lab, ASE will roll out solar power installation training and education in Malawi targeting women. The project will act as an exemplar for further clean energy solutions for COM and for the wider Malawian community. 

Said Prof Garside: "It is absolutely fantastic to see one of our world-changing alumni from Botswana helping to deliver clean energy and expertise to an important new clinical research facility developed with our partners at the College of Medicine in Malawi. This is a real example of South-South collaboration.”

Ntobedzi, who is the Director of Africa Sun Energy said: “This funding has come at a crucial time for the health sector in southern Africa where, unfortunately still, many health facilities do not have access to reliable and affordable clean energy to enable them to maintain basic services. This is even more significant as the possible vaccine required for the treatment of COVID-19 will require a level of temperature control to maintain their efficacy.” 

She added that this project at the College of Medicine will be a demonstration of a new clean energy service which addresses the needs of health facilities, not only in Malawi but in the entire region as well.

Furthermore, Ntobedzi said they are planning to have the project completed by the end of February 2021 and that they have started to ensure that they do everything necessary to ensure the success of this project. “Moving forward, we hope that similar projects can be undertaken for our local health facilities, especially during this difficult time as we fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” she noted.

Dr Mipando, immediate past principal of the College of Medicine, said: “I am so excited to see that our Blantyre Research Facility will utilise clean energy and thereby be an exemplar in our country and the region. This project is a giant step in our quest to become an environmentally friendly campus. We look forward to working with our colleagues from Scotland and Botswana.”