• Solar power powers learning

Solar power for Ndege primary school

Electricity and running water, whenever you need it. At the touch of a button. Taken for granted in Germany. But not in Malawi. The 600 children who are taught daily at Ndege primary school have to rely on daylight in order to be able to learn. The nearest public electricity pole is several kilometres away. It is also a long way to the well.

A decent education under any condition and access to drinking water are the challenges that can be solved with one system: solar power. That is sustainable development! The Christian-Liebig-Stiftung e.V. expanded and renovated the primary school in 2019-2020 and we remain in close contact with the school community.

  • Country:


  • Place:

    Ndege, west of Blantyre

  • Project duration:

    May to June 2022

  • Aims:

    Install an electricity and water supply based on solar power

  • Status:

    Primary school with 600 children in a rural area, without connections to the public electricity network.

Better educational opportunities and hygiene thanks to solar energy

Cooperation: Beatrice von Keyserlingk and Carolin Nagler (Head of CLS office) with Stefano Cruccu of sopowerful in Munich.

CLS board member Beatrice von Keyserlingk explains the project: “We are launching a pilot project together with the sopowerful foundation: we are equipping Ndege primary school with a solar system that will make the school independent of the state electricity grid. This is important because a school needs a constant supply of electricity to be able to operate properly and provide effective education. However, this is not a given in Malawi. There is, however, plenty of energy from the sun. The only problem is the infeed of solar power. And that’s where we come in.” 

Light is essential in order for the school to be able to provide even better educational opportunities. It could, for example, enable evening classes to be offered for adult education. A reliable power supply also enables the use of electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones. And last but not least, it would be possible to have refrigerators to improve school meals and to equip the teachers’ houses with solar energy.

The teaching team at Ndege school is overjoyed: “This project will greatly improve our sanitary situation and the solar power will help increase our transfer rate to secondary schools.” Because where there is light, more learning can take place.

 Let there be light! The children and the teaching team at Ndege primary school are looking forward to having electricity and running water.

Easy and direct access to water covers numerous aspects. Children and teachers can implement necessary hygiene measures and drinking water is readily available. The new well also enables fruit and vegetables to be cultivated in the school garden for the nutrition programme.   

Solar system: Installation, technology and maintenance

Sustainable energy source: The solar panels provide an optimal supply for the school, garden and the community 

Work on the school was started in May 2022. The system that will supply the Ndege school with electricity consists of a 5.1 kWp solar system and a 7.2 kWh battery storage system. For the water supply, a 2 kWp solar system drives a DC water pump that supplies the entire piping and sanitation system as well as a 5,000 litre water tank.

A clear connection to this new property is essential, because once the installation is complete, the system goes to the community. 

Therefore, as always, we closely involved the community and school staff in the decision making and were able to impart the importance and benefits of the solar panels to them.

Once it has been completed, they are then responsible for the safety of the system. There will of course be training on how it works, so that this treasure can be cared for properly. We support the Ndege school not only through partially financing the installation, but also by bearing the annual maintenance costs and, if necessary, by contributing to any repairs that may become necessary in the next few years.

Sopowerful – Believe in the potential of solar power

Better together: We are pleased to have discovered and to have the sopowerful foundation, founded in 2019, as a partner in this project. The Dutch organisation has set itself the goal of using solar energy where it is really needed. Their mission: to use this sustainable energy source to positively impact the lives of people at the “bottom of the pyramid”, in particular to create and improve opportunities for children.

The solar plants are financed through crowdfunding or in cooperation with other organisations, such as CLS, and installed by local partners. The construction of the plant costs about 40,000 euros. Half of it has been borne by sopowerful, the rest was paid for by donations to CLS.

 Working together: sopowerful director Stefano Cruccu with children from the Ndege primary school

Personal support is particularly important to director Stefano Cruccu’s team. He says: “Where electricity is a commodity, solar energy is the key to the energy transition. In places where electricity is not a given, the value of solar energy is in a completely different category: it can have a profound impact on the lives of people and communities and give them the opportunity to create progress.”

Let there be light! Solar for Ndege.


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