The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has approved the development 39 solar power projects as the country moves towards renewable energy to increase capacity. Zera’s acting chief executive officer, Eddington Mazambani, confirmed the approval and said the projects will require an investment of over US $2.3bn and will have capacity to generate up 1,151.87MW.
“The authority has so far received and processed a total of 39 solar energy projects, with six of them now functional, two are under construction and 31 are yet to be developed,” said Mazambani.
Mazambani further added that three of the projects are at concept or pre-feasibility stage, and have capacity to generate 111MW, 22 of the solar projects are at feasibility and technical studies’ level and have capacity to generate 885.1MW while three projects, with capacity to generate 70MW, are at feasibility or proof of bankability stage. An additional three projects are at funding stage and can generate up to 53.3MW when concluded.
There are currently two projects at construction stage with capacity to feed 25MW into the national grid when completed. The six operational projects are delivering 7.47MW into the grid.
Cabinet also approved the implementation of a large-scale programme to promote the importation, local production of solar equipment and the use of solar power as an alternative energy source.
Zimbabwe is currently facing an unprecedented energy crisis. The current cause of the power shortages can be attributed to a combination of ageing power plant, and a transmission and distribution network which have suffered years of neglect and minimal maintenance, unsupported and under-performing renewable sector.
According to latest statistics released by the International Renewable Energy Agency, the country had only 11 MW of installed solar capacity at the end of December.