A PRIVATE energy firm, SolGas (Private) Limited, has approached the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) seeking a licence to set up a 5 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant in Matabeleland North province as part of efforts to ease the country’s power shortages.
BY Nqobile Bhebhe
Zera in a statement yesterday said the proposed solar plant would be constructed at Cross Mabale in Hwange.
“Notice is hereby given that the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has received an application from SolGas (Pvt) Ltd to construct, own operate and maintain a 5MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant for the purpose of generation and supply of electricity in Zimbabwe. The proposed plant will be located at Cross Mabale, Hwange, Matabeleland North Province,” Zera said in a statement.
The energy regulatory authority invited firms and individuals with objections to the project to submit their complaints within 14 days.
Government has made a number of initiatives to promote solar such as renewable energy feed in tariff, which is still to be approved, solar photovoltaic grid code, net-metering regulations and solar photovoltaic and solar geyser pilot projects.
With Zimbabwe battling an energy shortage as demand continues to outrun supply, Zera has licenced over 15 independent power producers to complement struggling power utility, Zesa Holdings, amid calls to licence more private power generators.
However, few licenced firms have n commenced power generation. Zera has so far licenced four players with a combined capacity of generating 155MW from solar. The PV projects are Marondera-based De Green (50MW), Geo-base in Gwanda with an estimated capacity of 50MW, Yellow Africa in Ntabazinduna that can generate 50MW and Bulilima-Mangwe’s Plum Solar (5MW). Zesa is currently generating about half of the 2 200MW national requirement which has resulted in permanent load-shedding being introduced for both households and industry impacting negatively on economic recovery efforts.