A LOCAL consortium, Triangle Solar System (TSS), plans to invest US$88,1 million building a 90MW solar power plant in Chiredzi.
The planned project was recently approved by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) and electrical installation will be located about 12 kilometres west of the TSS headquarters, ZBC news reported this week.
The solar power plant will be deployed in two stages, with a capacity of 45MW per stage.
“Based on an annual global irradiation of 1,760 Kw/h per m2, a solar photovoltaic system with a capacity of 45MW should produce approximately 73,896MWh of electricity annually, of which 66,500 MWh will be sold to the national grid,” TSS director Mr Paradzai Chakona was quoted as saying.
It is hoped that electricity import bills of Chiredzi in particular and Zimbabwe in general will be significantly reduced.
The country is facing a shortage of electricity owing to reduced domestic generation.
Zimbabwe also imports a significant amount of electricity mainly from neighbouring countries, including Mozambique and South Africa.
The Chiredzi electrification project will also create more than 300 jobs and requires US$88,1 million funding for the project towards preparing the ground, acquisition of materials, equipment, connection to the network and civil works.
It also envisaged that the project will take at least six months to complete once it is rolled out.
“We plan to start construction in September or October 2020, before the start of the 2020/2021 rainy season.
“If all goes well, it will be completed in the first half of 2021,” said Mr Chakona.
After the Chiredzi electrification project is completed, TSS plans to build more photovoltaic solar power plants in Zimbabwe to address the power shortage.
The country’s energy demand hovers around 2200MW but present output is less than 1000MW.