The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has commissioned its own solar power plant with a generation capacity of up to 40kVA.

The solar plant was officially commissioned earlier this week by Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) board chair Caroline Sandura.

In a statement, ZSE chief executive officer Justin Bgoni said the overall objective of the solar project was to move towards a cleaner, affordable and reliable source of power given the need to keep trading servers up on a continual basis.

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Zimbabwe is currently facing a shortage of electricity thanks to generation shortfalls and imports a significant amount of power from Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia.

These power imports then create a significant foreign currency outflow, straining the country’s foreign currency situation.

The country this week again started experiencing major power cuts because of problems at Hwange Thermal Power station, the Zambezi River Authority imposing water rationing to generation at a hydropower plant, Kariba South power station and Eskom loadshedding in South Africa.

Exploring the potential of solar power

The ZSE is not the only Zimbabwean entity to recently choose the solar route.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority earlier this year granted a generation licence to a local consortium called Triangle Solar System to develop a 90MW solar plant.

The plan is to implement the plant in two stages of 45MW and start construction in September or October.

The ZSE has been relying on diesel power generators as a fallback when electricity is unavailable. This has proven to be a costly and environmentally unfriendly strategy.

Bgoni said adopting the solar energy route is in line with the stock exchange’s commitment to sustainable practices.

The ZSE has been a member of the United Nations’ Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative since 2015 and in 2019 it adopted sustainability disclosure requirements in its listings requirements.

“In 2019 the ZSE also published principles for Green and Social Bonds to be considered by issuers intending to raise funds for green projects. The ZSE looks forward to annual cost savings of around $42,000 from the switch to solar energy and the payback period is within 3 years,” explained Bgoni.