by Christopher Makaza.
Government through the Ministry of Energy and Power Development continues to promote the use of solar energy in the country as it has proven to be reliable, affordable and sustainable.
Addressing delegates at a Renpower Zimbabwe Investment Summit held in Harare today, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Gloria Magombo highlighted some of the achievements that the Government has made to date regarding solar energy development, urging people to use the same.
“Over 10 000 solar home systems have been installed countrywide and 400 mini grids have been set up at rural schools and clinics. A number of solar irrigation schemes countrywide have been installed around the country through the efforts of Government and Non-hsGovernmental Organisations (NGOs),” she said.
“It is pleasing to note that earlier this year, we commissioned a solar power plant which is generating 2.5 MW that is being fed into the grid. Other private sector initiatives have resulted in the installation roof top solar power plants and solar mini grids with capacities ranging from 99kw to just over 1 MW. In order to diversify power generation options, Government is developing 3 by 100MW solar power plants in Gwanda, Insukamini and Munyati areas,” she said.
Dr Magombo noted that Government is looking for potential investors in the solar energy sector.
“At the moment, the ministry is receiving unsolicited bids ranging from a few MW to over a thousand MW. However, Government is encouraging investors to start with small power plants of capacity below 50MW which may be installed on various sites countrywide,” she said.
She also revealed that the Ministry wishes to promote the use of solar water heaters at all households and institutions adding that two large scale solar water heating systems were installed at Harare Institute of Technology and United Bulawayo Hospital.