• Southpole Consulting Private Limited is waiting for green light from Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) for solar power project IPP licence
  • Southpole wants to develop a 125 MW solar power project as an IPP in Woodlands Estate, Victoria Falls
  • Technical and funding support has been arranged by Southpole for the project, as per local media
  • It is planned to be located near the ZIZABONA inter-connector project that will connect major markets and other networks in the region to support trading of power

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has received an application for a solar power plant of 125 MW to be installed in Woodlands Estate, Victoria Falls. The applicant for this project is private consulting firm Southpole Consulting Private Limited, reported local Zimbabwe news portal Chronicle.

The project main purpose would be self-consumption, but it would be also connected to the grid.

The 125 MW project was approved by the government in late 2017, as per local media reports. It is planned to be located near the planned ZIZABONA inter-connector project that aims to connect the national power markets of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, to support power trade among all the countries in the network, along with South Africa, according to NEPAD-IIPF, a multi-donor special fund hosted by the AfDB.

The Ministry of Lands has granted a land use permission to Southpole Consulting to deploy the 125 MW plant. The consulting has already secured technical and funding support for the project. Now it is waiting for an independent power producer (IPP) license from ZERA.

In 2017, ZERA issued nine IPP licenses that included one hybrid solar/diesel and six solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 256.6 MW, as per The Herald.

Local media quoted Engineer Tendai Tidings Musasa of Southpole Consulting as saying the proposed solar power project would generate some 500 jobs in the construction phase and also lead to 2,500 indirect jobs within the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Continuous energy supply is a challenge for authorities in Zimbabwe as the country imports most of it from its neighbouring nations South Africa and Mozambique. This imported electricity is expensive. Moreover, demand for electricity far outweighs supply. As per its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015, Zimbabwe’s electricity generation capacity was about 1.2 GW, with 40% coming from thermal sources and 60% from hydro power plants.

In September 2017, local media had reported about 300 MW PV capacity is being planned by the Zimbabwe Power Company (see Zimbabwe Utility Plans 300 MW PV).