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In a commendable effort to optimize energy consumption and reduce electricity expenses, the UNC Project has recently embraced solar power as a sustainable solution. The initiative primarily targets the UNC Project Annex Building, a facility that accommodates offices, conference rooms, pathology laboratories, and cell processing laboratories. By installing a solar power system, the UNC Project aims to alleviate the burden of hefty monthly electricity bills over time.

Annex Building solar power system

The ground floor laboratories within the UNC Project Annex Building have been identified as significant contributors to the escalated power consumption due to the extensive number of power-intensive equipment they house. As a result, the electricity usage of the building began exceeding the declared load documented with the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (Escom).

Caesar Kumwenda, from Circuits Electricals, an integral part of the solar energy system installation, shed light on the issue.

“The power usage surpassed the declared load for the building. This indicated that the Project would eventually face exorbitant charges, as Escom would categorize its electricity consumption as that of a ‘factory’ type,” explained Kumwenda.

Fortunately, this concern was swiftly addressed through the implementation of a ‘power factor bank,’ correcting the power factor and ensuring the Project utilizes the appropriate amount of power without incurring excessive charges.

Moreover, Kumwenda highlighted that the introduction of the solar power system will lead to further reductions in electricity bills.

“On a typical day, the solar system can supply 27 KVA of power. In such cases, if the building requires 100 KVA, only 73 KVA will be sourced from the grid, with the remaining power generated by the solar system. Gradually, this setup will result in substantial cost savings,” Kumwenda stated enthusiastically.

He further emphasized that the combined utilization of the solar power system and the existing power factor bank will yield even greater savings.

The solar power system generates direct current (DC) power, which is subsequently converted into alternate current (AC) through an inverter, making it compatible with the electricity from the national electricity supplier.

“The ground floors of the Annex Building, where the laboratories are situated, consume the most electricity due to heavy-duty refrigerators and laboratory equipment. Therefore, the solar power supply system will play a crucial role in powering this section, significantly reducing costs that would otherwise be borne by Escom,” Kumwenda concluded.

The commitment of the UNC Project to harnessing renewable energy not only demonstrates their dedication to cost reduction but also highlights their proactive approach towards sustainability in an era where environmental consciousness is paramount. As the sun’s rays continue to power the UNC Project Annex Building, it paves the way for a greener and more energy-efficient future.