Solar fair opens in Bulawayo

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More than 4 000 people are expected to attend the solar fair to be held in Bulawayo on Saturday, an official has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) in Zimbabwe is rolling out provincial solar fairs in eight provinces as part of a public awareness and communication strategy that has contributed to the development and expansion of the solar market in the rural and peri-urban areas in Zimbabwe.

The solar expos, organised in partnership with the government, solar companies and provincial authorities, will bring together more than 25 major solar companies, to display products, ranging from lights and home entertainment systems to agro-based solar solutions.

The expos would be held concurrently with provincial and district agricultural shows in July and August.

“We are expecting between 4 000 and 5 000 people to come through at the fair on Saturday,” Thulani Ncube, SNV renewable energy sector advisor, said.

“The fair would be the first of its kind in Bulawayo and will help people appreciate solar products. So we expect even farmers and universities to attend,” he said.

Ncube said admission would be free and anyone willing to come should do so. He urged individual people and companies to invest in solar due to its efficiency.

Running under the theme, “Solar Kumusha, ISolar Ekhaya” and “Zvirikufaya ne-/Ziyakhipha nge-solar”, the publicity and awareness campaigns would involve broadcasting of promotional programmes on radio and television stations.

According to SNV, Radio Zimbabwe, with a listenership of more than 2,6 million, and ZBC/TV’s Emerging Giant programme will jointly broadcast some of the solar fair events.

SNV has struck strategic partnership agreements with key solar companies including Total Zimbabwe, Solar Shack, Samansco, Gemwitts and GreenDot as part of the project.

Total Zimbabwe in partnership with SNV has already trained 360 youth entrepreneurs drawn from rural and peri-urban communities in marketing of new brand of lights and lanterns called Awango.

The solar fairs will include financial advisory support by financial institutions including FBC Micro Plan, who will explain how customers who wish to install solar home systems could access finance.

The fair stared in Gweru. From Bulawayo it would roll to other places like Lupane, Karoi, Mutare, Mt Darwin, Masvingo and Mutoko.