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Zimbabwe invites solar project bids

27 June 2013 – Zimbabwe’s state procurement board is to open tenders for groups to partner the Zimbabwe Power Company in the construction of a 100 MW solar facility about 130 km northwest of Bulawayo. Tenders open on July 5, 2013 and close on July 23. Once all approvals have been obtained, the construction will take between nine months to a year.

Zimbabwe’s The Herald reports that the country requires as much as 2,200 MW, but is currently generating an average of 1,200 MW a day.

Zimbabwe recently contracted Chinese company Sinohydro to construct two additional units at the Kariba hydroelectric power station at a cost of US$368 million. Upon completion, Kariba will add 300 MW onto the national grid. Government has also awarded another Chinese company, China Machinery Engineering Company, the tender for the expansion of Hwange thermal power station. This project will cost some US$1.3 billion and the additional units will produce 600 MW when completed.

A number of solar projects have been announced across Africa outside South Africa in recent years, but few have been on the scale of that planned by Zimbabwe.

The Nzema 155 MW project based in Ghana will be able to provide electricity to more than 100,000 homes, according to a BBC report. In April, Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy specialist Masdar launched a 15 MW solar project in Nouakchott, capital of Mauritania. A project was launched in Egypt in March, to build a US$1 billion 140 MW solar plant.