By Margaret Kamba
The construction of the 20MW Harava Solar Project is now 70 percent complete and is expected to start feeding into the National Grid at Dema substation in 2 months.
This development will help ease pressure on the national grid which has an installed capacity of around 2 000MW with demand at 1 500MW. Despite the installed capacity, Zimbabwe’s power generation from its hydropower stations in Kariba, Hwange (thermal), Munyati (thermal), Harare (thermal), and Bulawayo (thermal) stands at 1 200MW.
However, Zimbabwe has vast renewable energy resources like solar, hydro, biomass and to a limited extent, wind and geothermal, that to date have largely remained unexploited exacerbating the lack of access to basic energy services and widening the energy supply-demand gap.
Solar potential of sixteen (16) to twenty (20) MJ/m2 /day in Zimbabwe is vastly unexploited and is present in several regions of the Country.
ZANU PF in its election promises to the people of Zimbabwe, highlighted that it will work tirelessly to invest in cleaner technologies. In this regard fiscal incentives would be offered for the use of cleaner technologies.
Cabinet has also approved the implementation of a large-scale programme to promote the importation, local production of solar equipment and the use of solar power as an alternative energy source. Duty waivers on imported solar equipment have been provided.
A number of programmes have been implemented to promote the adoption of renewable energy technologies such as National Energy Policy, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), The National Biogas Programme, Rural Electrification (using solar mini-grids), Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA), Climate Policy among others.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority ZERA also processed close to 39 solar power projects that have capacity to generate up 1,151.87MW, as the country moves towards renewable energy to increase capacity.
Companies among them Matshela Energy and Centragrid are working on solar projects to alleviate power shortages, which have impacted domestic and commercial power users.