- ZERA has received and processed applications for a total of 39 solar PV projects in the country, according to The Herald
- Of these, six projects with 7.47 MW capacity are already connected to the grid and two are currently under construction
- Remaining 32 projects are at various stages of development and pre-construction phase
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has so far received and processed applications of 39 solar PV projects with a cumulative capacity of 1,151.87 MW. This represents an investment of over $2.3 billion. Local news portal The Herald received this information in an emailed response from ZERA’s acting CEO Eddington Mazambani.
Out of the 39 projects, six are already connected to the national grid and generating 7.47 MW of clean power. Two with 25 MW capacity are under construction while feasibility and technical studies are currently being conducted for 22 projects that are planned to generate a total of 885.1 MW.
Another three projects with 70 MW capacity are at feasibility or proof of bankability stage and three more with 53.3 MW capacity are at funding stage, according to ZERA. With a cumulative capacity of 111 MW, three projects are at the conceptualizing or pre-feasibility stage.
Zimbabwe is set to catch the fancy of solar power companies from across the globe as the African country opens itself up to diversified and newer modes of energy generation in order to fight massive power cuts courtesy to aging power generation equipment, mostly thermal. Hydro power plants are also not generating enough electricity due to droughts.
The government seems to be now welcoming solar with open arms – it has removed duties on imported solar power products while encouraging domestic production. In a July 2019 article, Reuters reported the government has made it mandatory for all new construction in the country to be equipped with solar systems. By 2030, Zimbabwe expects to have at least 1,575 MW of solar power to replace almost the same amount of current generation capacity from other sources.
Matshela Koko, the ex-CEO of South Africa’s Eskom, secured ZERA’s license for his company to develop a 100 MW solar with 240 MWh of battery storage project in Zimbabwe (see Zimbabwe Awards License For 100 MW Solar Project). Earlier, in April 2019, there were reports of US based business group Labacorp Power Company America seeking approval to develop a 900 MW grid connected solar power plant in Zimbabwe (see US Firm Proposes 900 MW Zimbabwe Solar Farm).