Zesa seeks solar power to keep lights on

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Bloomberg News

Zesa Holdings Ltd, the utility that’s subjecting Zimbabweans to 18-hour power cuts, is going off the grid.

The electricity producer is inviting bids for a roof-top solar power installation at its head office in the capital, Harare, to ensure that its staff enjoy uninterrupted power.

The bids open today and will close on Dec. 19, according to a Government Gazette published Nov. 22. Solar panels may also be installed at Zesa’s provincial offices, said Fullard Gwasira, Zesa’s spokesman.

The southern African nation has been hit by crippling power cuts as a drought has drained the reservoir at its biggest plant, the Kariba South hydropower station, and a coal-fired generator at Hwange keeps breaking down. Zimbabwe is also struggling to pay for imports from South Africa and Mozambique.

The two power plants on Friday were producing a combined 523 megawatts of electricity, according to the Zimbabwe Power Company, the electricity distribution arm of the utility. That’s a fraction of the country’s demand.