In southern Africa, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has to date licensed five solar power projects valued at $250 million. ZERA expects the solar projects to produce a combined 160MW.
ZERA’s chief executive Eng. Gloria Magombo told local media, The Herald Business yesterday, that licensed solar power projects are at different stages within the project development cycle.
The five project licensees are: De Green Rhino Energy, GeoBase Clean Energy, Yellow Africa, Plum Solar and Oursun Energy.
Solar power projects at varied stages
Speaking on the five solar power projects Magombo said: “Some of the projects are at pre-feasibility stage, some have conducted feasibility studies including Environmental Impact Assessment and are moving towards Project Financing and Power Purchase Agreement stage.”
She added that the value of the projects varies as project promoters’ source their materials from different countries but the estimated cost of the five projects is about $250 million, The Herald Business reported.
According to Magombo, the country expects to benefit from approximately three additional 100MW solar projects. The additional projects, currently at the tendering stage, will be funded by the country’s generation utility, Zimbabwe Power Company.
Rural electrification in Zim
Magombo explained that the Rural Electrification Agency has several solar power projects. These constitute mini-grid solar power projects that are at rural health centres and rural schools across the country.
“There are also several small-scale solar projects across the country that are powering different equipment and providing lighting at household, company and farm level.
“The rural energy master plan – which is currently being developed by the Rural electrification Agency – will provide a more accurate evaluation of the level of solar energy penetration in rural settlements in the country.”
Investment for solar power projects
In southern Africa, Zimbabwe is among the countries with the best conditions for solar photovoltaic and is currently attracting investors into the energy sector.
The Government has commissioned ZERA to develop a feed-in tariff policy. The objective of the policy is to boost private sector participation in the development of renewable energy sources and solar power projects.