mzuzu university tCRET
The Test and Training Centre for Renewable Energy Technologies (TCRET)
The Test and Training Centre for Renewable Energy Technologies (TCRET) is a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in the Faculty of Science Technology and Innovation at Mzuzu University (MZUNI) in Malawi focussing on hands on capacity building, research and consultancy in renewable and sustainable energy technologies. TCRET is strategically set to promote best practice of managing knowledge in renewable and sustainable energy systems, network stimulation, skills development, and transfer of expertise internally among the MZUNI staff and externally with personnel in the government line ministries, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), supporting partner institutions and other stakeholders. As Centre of Excellence, TCRET at Mzuzu University is an important part of the policy mix for realizing higher education and research sector goals in Malawi, regionally and globally.
TCRET was established in 2003 at Mzuzu University by the Government of Malawi. The Centre was established as a subcomponent of the Barrier Removal to Renewable Energy in Malawi (BARREM) Project, which was implemented by the Department of Energy Affairs (DoE) in the then Ministry of Natural Resources Energy and Mining, now Ministry of Energy (MoE) from 2001 to 2006.
Among the many barriers that the BARREN Project was addressing, the lack of an institution of higher learning dedicated to training and research in renewable and sustainable energy technologies (RETs) was envisaged as the major barrier to promotion, uptake and adoption RETs in Malawi. It was also identified as the cause for the rarity of competent professionals capable to carry out research and development (R&D) projects in planning, design, installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems in Malawi.
In addition, it was envisaged that the lack of an institution dedicated to testing of RET equipment imported into Malawi, to promote compliance to RET standards by the suppliers and installers/developers of the RET systems, was the major cause of the influx, supply and installation of substandard renewable energy (RE) systems in Malawi. As a result, the Malawi Government, through the Department of Energy Affairs, established TCRET at Mzuzu University in 2003 with financial support from United National Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP, through the BARREM Project, provided funding for the purchase of Solar PV training and testing equipment, training fees for engineers and technicians and paid for salaries for two engineers employed by Mzuzu University to run the Centre from 2003 to 2006.
Test and Training Centre in Renewable Energy Technologies (TCRET)
(i) To provide certificate level training in renewable energy technologies for technicians, engineers, policy makers and planners in order to build sufficient human capacity to promote RETs and ensure informed decision-making in energy systems in Malawi and beyond;
(ii) To promote collaborative research knowledge between staff of TCRET, local renewable energy industries and reputable regional and international institutions;
(iii) To provide consultancy services to both the private and public sectors on RETs and energy systems; and
(iv) To provide testing services of renewable energy equipment to be marketed in Malawi by renewable energy technologies suppliers and industry.
A reputable and functional Centre of Excellence in energy systems contributing to sustainable energy generation and utilisation in Malawi and beyond.
To provide high quality training, testing and complementary services in energy systems through innovative continuance professional development programmes, research and consultancy in Malawi and beyond.
TCRET Achievement since Inception
§ TCRET has trained more than 450 technicians and 200 engineers in Solar Photovoltaics and Wind Technology for lighting
§ The centre has collaborated in offering tailor made short courses with institutions such as UNDP, MRA, SADC, ESAMI and Department of Energy Affairs etc
§ The establishment of Department of Energy Systems (DES) in 2004 is an outcome of TCRET. The department now offers training at bachelor’s degree with plans for master’s degree at advanced level.
§ So many research work has been done in collaborations with international institutions such as University of Strathclyde in Scotland and University of Loughborough in England etc.
§ With support from British High Commission, TCRET installed 11 biogas digesters in Choma/Chigwere area, 10 biogas digesters in Mchinji district and implemented a solar PV project in Kapita area Inkosi Khonolo in Mzimba district.
§ TCRET has worked as a consultant in design and specifications of institutional biogas systems for secondary and primary schools in a project that was implemented by CCODE. The centre has also worked on biogas projects with financial support from VSO, mini grids design. These projects have enabled TCRET consultants to gain significant experience in RE technologies.
§ TCRET has worked as a consultant in feasibility assessments and mini grids design.