By Robert Tapfumaneyi
MUTOKO community is experiencing less hours of load shedding after a local Independent Power Producer, Nyangani Renewable Energy (NRE) started pumping its solar power into the national grid.
NRE is the first solar scheme to be commissioned and to supply power into the national grid.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com at the company’s solar project in Mutoko Mashonaland East province Fungai Bvirakare, NRE station manager said the company is expecting to generate 10MW by year-end.
“Our total capacity for this first phase of four is 2.5 MW, we have got 9600 solar panels here and we have connected them in series which we call a string,” Bvirakare said.
“The project was built at a cost of about US$3 million.”
Bvirakare added: “We are carrying out the project in four phases with each phase expected to generate 2.5 MW. The last phase has been delayed mainly because of foreign currency shortages the country is facing.”
The solar project is on a 40 hectare plot in Musvaire Village which has benefitted locals.
“The community is benefitting from the solar power plant through reduced load shedding of about six hours a day while others in the country are experiencing over half a day without power,” he said.
The company got its license from Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) in 2017 under Riverside Power Station and to date has commissioned another solar project in Pungwe Manicaland province.
NRE comes at a time both foreign and local investors have been invited to set up power generating plants, preferably powered by renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and waste among other sources.
“While we continue to generate thermal and hydro-power at state utility and Independent Power Producers (IPP) plants, individuals can also take advantage of the repeal of duty on solar and energy efficient equipment to venture into renewable energy projects,” ZERA acting chief executive office Eddington Mazambi told NewZimbabwe.com.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of its biggest power crisis since independence with citizens forced to endure up to 18hrs of loadshedding.