Local sustainable energy and infrastructure development firm New Sahara Ventures plans to expand Guruve Solar Park in Mashonaland Central province this year, adding another 30 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.
Last year, the $4,75 million plant in the US began supplying 5MW to the national grid.
In response to written inquiries from Herald Finance and Business, Mr. Ainos Ngadya, chairman of New Sahara Ventures, stated that last year, his company also contributed to the development of several off-grid solar power plants across the nation as well as the 5,7MW Sunset Solar Farm in Matabeleland South Province.
In order to supply clean energy to the larger Guruve and Mahuwe communities, New Glovers 10MW solar farm in the Midlands Province, Sunports Energy Park in the Mashonaland East corridor, and other important rural centres, New Sahara Ventures is on track to further connect at least 30MW to the national grid under the Guruve Solar Park expansion in 2024, he stated.
According to Mr. Ngadya, the off-grid solar power projects in which his organisation has participated have benefited the nation’s commercial, industrial, and agricultural clients.
According to him, over the next 25 years, each of the renewable energy projects that New Sahara Ventures established is expected to provide 45 full- and part-time employment.
In addition, the projects serve as a substitute for power imports by providing local businesses and farmers with reliable renewable energy.
“Local and regional financial institutions, who are increasingly leaning towards impact and sustainable investments, have provided funding for the projects,” Mr. Ngadya said.
Zimbabwe has had chronic power shortages for many years as a result of frequent malfunctions at Hwange Power Station, which was the nation’s biggest power plant prior to the US$1.5 billion development of Units 7 and 8.
President Mnangagwa put the two units into service last year, bringing 600 MW to the national grid.
Including production from IPPs plants, Zimbabwe’s electricity generation has reached an average of 1,400 MW so far.
This goes against the more over 2,000 MW of national demand.
By the following year, the government hopes to have increased Zimbabwe’s total power supply from 2 317MW of installed capacity to 3 467MW.
Due to low water levels brought on by the negative impacts of climate change, Zimbabwe’s largest hydroelectric plant, Kariba, has seen reduced output, which has made the country’s electricity situation worse.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has been granting licences to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to invest in renewable energy since 2010, with the goal of reaching a total production of 1 100MW from the sector by the following year, as part of the efforts to solve the nation’s power supply issue.
Nonetheless, the nation’s efforts to produce the 1 100MW of renewable energy that is planned by 2025 have been hindered by IPPs’ lack of investment as a result of unfavourable tariffs and currency fluctuations.
The government has provided assurances to IPPs with projects totaling one thousand megawatts in order to allay the aforementioned worry.
A Government Implementation Agreement (GIA) was approved by the government for all solar projects. IPPs are assured an economic rate within the framework, and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe makes sure they may transfer and convert their revenues to foreign currency.
A power purchase agreement between the GIA and ZESA, the nation’s electricity company, is also in place.
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