ZIMBABWE: Plans construction of three 250MW solar power plants

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ZIMBABWE: Plans construction of three 250MW solar power plants250MW© Sergey Molchenko/Shutterstock

Zimbabwe will develop three solar photovoltaic power plants with a total capacity of 250 MW. The construction of these new infrastructures will be carried out by independent producers and will cost a little over $400 million.

Three solar photovoltaic power plants will be installed in three Zimbabwean cities, Goromonzi, Bulawayo and Harare. The first two will each have a 100 MW capacity while the last one will have a capacity of 50 MW. The system will be implemented in the coming months by the local company Guarantee Risk Solar, in collaboration with Bushveld Energy (eXcess Africa), a South African company. The total cost of the three projects is estimated at about $400 million.

According to the project leaders, it is urgent for Zimbabwe to adapt its electricity production to climate change. George Beukes, Executive Director of eXcess Africa, said: “We need to change the way electricity is produced. There are also advantages to using renewable energy, particularly in terms of revenue. We want to allow the country to make margins on energy imports and, better still, transform it into an energy exporter.” For him, turning to renewable energies is the essential condition to curb the climatic disasters that are threatening the Africa’s future.

Despite the government’s many efforts, Zimbabwe is still plagued by numerous power cuts. On Monday, May 13, 2019, the national electricity company again announced the implementation of a rotary power shedding plan. Interruptions can last up to 10 hours each day. These cuts are due to low water levels at the Kariba dam, the country’s main electricity supplier. Daily electricity demand is estimated at 2100 MW for a production of 969 MW, a low production capacity that remains under serious threat from drought and grid capacity and reliability problems. According to World Bank estimates, Zimbabwe’s energy access rate was just 38 percent in 2016.

Luchelle Feukeng

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