- ZPC has received a proposal from China Energy Engineering Group for 1 GW floating solar plant
- It is proposed to be located on Lake Kariba of Zimbabwe’s Kariba dam with 1.8 million panels
- Power generated is planned to be sold to mining companies and other big energy users
What could become one of the world’s largest floating solar power plants, a 1 GW facility has reportedly been proposed by China Energy Engineering Group to the Zimbabwe Power Co (ZPC) to come up on Lake Kariba of Zimbabwe’s Kariba Dam.
According to reports from both Reuters and Bloomberg, the power plant is offered to be built for an investment worth around $1 billion. It would be spent as $801 million on installation and $186 million on civil engineering works.
The 1 GW project is planned to be built using 1.8 million solar panels installed on over 146 modular floating units. Report on the proposed project sees power generated to be used by mining companies and big energy users once the project is online.
If it goes ahead, the project will help Zimbabwe meet over 90% of its 1.1 GW renewable energy target, excluding hydropower, that it aims to install by 2025. By 2030, it eyes for a total renewable energy capacity of 2.1 GW under its National Renewable Energy Policy (NREP).
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Zimbabwe has a solar power potential of over 4 GW, but till the end of 2022 it had installed only around 41 MW. In the past, there had been several reports about plans for very large solar PV plants in Zimbabwe that have yet to materialize (see UAE To Help Zimbabwe With 2 GW Solar PV Capacity).
Reuters had reported in December 2022 that the country had proposed incentives to accelerate 1 GW of privately owned solar energy projects worth about $1 billion to plug an electricity deficit that was leading to up to 18 hours of power outages daily with the Kariba hydropower plant was low on water levels.
Floating solar is viewed as a land saver for renewable energy generation. Panels floating on top of a water body also help save water from evaporating.
Earlier in July 2021, Singapore’s Sunseap announced plans to build a 2.2 GW floating solar project with 4,000 MWh energy storage in Indonesia with BP Batam (see World’s ‘Largest’ Floating PV Project Planned In Indonesia).