The Sustainable Off-Grid Electrification of Rural Villages (SOGERV) Project is funded by the Scottish Government and runs from 2015 – 2018.  The project is led by the University of Strathclyde and partnered by Concern Universal – Malawi and WASHTED – Polytechnic.  The project aims to deploy sustainable off-grid energy projects in Chikhwawa district, Southern Malawi, that provide communities with affordable energy access.

Four locations were selected by the project to implement renewable energy projects: Kandeu, Gola, Thendo and Mandrade.   These sites are labelled on the map of the Chikhwawa district.


While the project aims to make a direct impact to the communities involved, through energy access, it is also designed to provide critical data and analysis on the performance of these systems – a poorly documented area in the past.

The motivation of this project is to change the status quo; we posit that it is impossible to improve results of community energy projects unless sufficient data and evidence is gathered and analyzed so that decision makers can properly gauge whether the solution is scalable. In SOGERV, a combination of detailed data sets which track economic, social, organizational, and technical performance of the installed projects will create the groundwork requisite for such an analysis.

The scale of systems targeted are in SOGERV are entirely “off-grid” and consist of  2 kilo-watt charging stations, small business solar PV systems, solar PV at schools and health centres for basic services, as well as a mix of pico-solar-products.  While only a modest level of access, it is envisioned that the service will be appropriate and affordable for the communities involved.

The planned business model combines local entrepreneurs owning and operating the equipment with community and district engaged throughout the development process.  Several variants are planned including a franchise model which is hoped to improve the supply chain issues experienced in the past.

From March 2015 to April 2016 the project has successfully completed its pre-installation plans which included:

  1. Project sensitization
  2. Initial engagement with district and community
  3. Baseline report
  4. Community Needs Assessment
  5. Business plan development
  6. Market Assessment
  7. Technical Designs
  8. Development of contractual arrangements between entrepreneur, community and district
  9. Recruitment of entrepreneurs to own and operate the installed systems

Read the Full Report: SOGERV Policy Briefing_2015


Recent photos of the latest site visit in Kandeu:


Recent photos of the latest site visit in Mandrade: