Solar

Improved power supplies through renewable energy resources has elevated residents of Chipata town in eastern Zambia, who are commending solar powered milling plants for availing cheaper mealie-meal.

The Zambian citizens told Xinhua correspondents, who visited some of the plants on the eastern outskirts of the town, that renewable energy milling plants have also provided jobs for locals.

The project to install solar powered milling plants was one of the outcomes of Zambian President Edgar Lungu‘s visit to China in March 2015, media reported.

Solar powered milling plants

It is reported that the solar powered milling plants were procured under a loan from the China Development Bank and in total, about 2,000 plants will be installed across the southern African nation.

The project which commenced in 2015, with installation being undertaken by the Zambia Cooperative Federation, as of last year, 250 had been installed across the country, media reported.

According to the media, residents highlighted that the plants had come at a right time to ease problems, such as the long distances they used to cover to have their maize milled.

Reliable power

One resident, Elizabeth Phiri, said: “The plant is near my house, so I don’t need to look for any transport like before for me to take my maize for milling. This is good and we hope more plants could be brought here.”

Another resident, Beatrice Phiri, told the media that the solar-powered plants are more reliable compared to the other hammer mills, which use electricity and diesel.

“In the past if there is no electricity, we had problems to take our maize for milling. Sometimes you would go to the hammer mill and find that there is no diesel,” Phiri said.

Other residents also praised the solar-powered plants for being cheaper than the other hammer mills.

Stephen Phiri, an operator of one of the solar powered plants, said the plant started operating in June 2016. At that time the ZCF had provided some maize that enabled them to sell the mealie-meal at a cheaper price.