UK solar power developer Lightsource Renewable Energy has joined forces with SolarAid to launch a charity fundraising initiative aimed at providing solar power to communities in Malawi.

The project, which will bring solar power to schools, community centres and health clinics, was launched at an event for Lightsource’s renewable energy partners and staff who were celebrating the successful connection of eleven large-scale UK solar farms to the national grid this year. The event raised over £17,000.

The Malawi project Chief Executive Nick Boyle said: “We are proud of what we have achieved as developers in the UK and have the opportunity through our emergence as a leading company in the solar sector to enable the truly life-enhancing work of SolarAid in Malawi, one of Africa’s poorest nations.”

SolarAid’s Director of Fundraising, Richard Turner said: “It is terrific to have a partnership with leading businesses in UK solar at this stage of the sector’s growth. We believe in business based solutions to tackling poverty and working with local people and communities to ensure that solar installations are sustainable and maintained.

The provision of solar power is going to bring widespread improvements for these communities that has a huge impact on people’s lives such as dramatically improving academic performance of schools and enabling rural clinics to potentially lifesaving treatment at night.Our aim is to help solarise all the clinics and schools in Malawi and this is the first step in achieving that goal”.

Only 7% of people in Malawi have access to electricity. The country ranks 153rd out of 169 countries on the UN’s Human Development index.