Living Solar is a renewable energy solution provider dedicated to deliver cost effective, efficient, and sustainable renewable energy solutions to the Zambian market. Diinsider interviewed Mr. Christopher Mapulanga, the chief operating officer of Living Solar Solutions to discuss how it has accelerated renewable energy development in Zambia.
Photo from Living Solar
Diinsider: Could you tell us how Living Solar Solutions came to be?
Christopher: The organization was founded due of the immense energy and water problems in our country. Most rural areas have inadequate access to clean water and energy, which often leads to many health hazards. We wanted to provide an alternative, renewable, affordable, and sustainable energy for urban, semi-urban and rural communities. This dream is all the more strengthened by our strong desire to eradicate poverty and to create a positive impact in society.
D: What problem is Living Solar Solutions trying to address?
C: We aim to answer the need for access to clean renewable energy and water for rural and urban areas in Zambia and Malawi. We also aim to address the ever growing changes in our agricultural industry by providing renewable solutions for farmers in the country.
D: Who comprises your team?
C: Our team is comprised of our CEO, Munjunzi Nyirenda . He has a vast experience in telecommunications and has worked in Australia. We also have Tawanda Tawengwa who is based in Zimbabwe and the head of Solar Shack. He has over five years of experience in renewable energy in Zimbabwe. I, Christopher Mapulanga, am the COO and I have over eight years of experience in sales and marketing. I am also involved in project management as I have worked for renewable energy companies, logistics, and payment solutions.
D: What is your proposed solution to the the problem?
C: Our solution is to provide a one stop service which includes supplying, consultancy, sizing, and maintenance of renewable energy equipment and services. We want to work with a range of stakeholders, suppliers and manufacturers so we can provide equipment and up-to-date technological advancements in the industry at an affordable price. With a constantly evolving industry, we are also continuously educating our staff to ensure that we provide adequate expertise.
Christopher with chicken shelter powered by solar panels.
Photo from Living Solar
D: Could you walk us through a specific example of how your solution made a difference?
C: Our solar water pump solution was able to reach far flung rural and off-grid areas. Our system is designed to work in both rural and urban African terrains. It allows potable water for families, and thus, has been preventing illnesses. It is also able to provide clean water for agriculture and subsistence farming. Through farming, families are able to earn income through the sales of their produce.
D: What has been the impact of your work so far? Can you describe your projected future impact in the coming years?
C: The agriculture sector is one of the largest industries in our country next to mining. Living Solar Solutions has provided this sector its much needed alternative energy resources. Our work has paved the way for families to achieve financial stability from selling our solar lanterns. So far, we have been able to provide services to over 15 commercial farmers and 10 rural dwellers. Our projected future impact on the other hand is to cover and reach out to more areas all over the country.
D: How does your project differ from similar initiatives that aim to address the same problems in your country?
C: They are a couple of solar companies in Zambia. I believe what sets us apart is that we aim for affordability and quality. Our plan is source high quality products but at a low cost.
Examples of Living Solar’s products
Photo from Living Solar
D:Are there any other projects you are running?
C: We have a project called Women in Solar Entrepreneurship (WISE). WISE aims to reduce energy inadequacies by empowering women with economic opportunities. We focus on training women and deliberately establishing women-driven direct sales networks to bring safe, affordable and clean energy technology to communities in Zambia. WISE endeavors to advocate for a world where women of all ages, their families, and communities have access to the renewable energy that they need to create a sustainable life.
We are also getting involved with a partner called MiPower to provide affordable water solutions to the Zambia market. MiPower supplies a wide range of pumps in the South African market. This collaboration will eventually bring positive change to the water supply in Zambia and neighboring countries.