HomeNewsVictoria Falls-Chidobe Solar Plant in Zimbabwe taking shape

Victoria Falls-Chidobe Solar Plant in Zimbabwe taking shape

The 100MW Victoria Falls-Chidobe Solar Plant outside of Resort City is beginning to take shape, according to contractors. They asserted that over 9000 solar panels have been installed and are set to start generating the first 5 MW of power next month. The project’s contractors are Power Ventures Ltd, an independent power producer, and a Southern Subsidiary.

Read also:200MW Baynouna Solar Park in Jordan inaugurated

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In the Hwange District of Matabeleland North Province, Energy applied for and obtained a license to construct a 100 MW solar energy plant in BH114. The plant will be around 3 kilometers from Lupinyu and close to the Victoria Falls International AirportFour phases of 25 MW each is being used to implement the project.

The first phase’s construction is anticipated to cost US$31 million. The project is currently underway and is expected to be concluded before the end of the year. 

100 ha are projected to be required for the Victoria Falls-Chidobe Solar Plant. The plant would be around BH114 and Mispah. The first 20 ha have been cleared, and more than 9000 solar panels with a combined output of 5 MW have been installed.

The 5 MW plant, according to project operators, is 90% complete. Additionally, the huge project is intended to be one of Zimbabwe’s largest solar parks. It comes as Zimbabwe aims to add more than 2,000 MW from solar, wind, and other sources to the national grid by 2030. It is also expected to be a game-changer for the province’s energy sector.

The first phase of the project was scheduled to be completed around three years after it commenced.

Why the Victoria Falls-Chidobe Solar Plant was kept on hold

It was put on hold because of the COVID-19 outbreak and challenges obtaining foreign currency to import equipment in December last year. Sino Hydro contracted with Yellow River, a Chinese company, to do civil works and build the plant. Since then, more land has been cleared from the site, and also more solar panels installed.

Land clearance is progressing, according to a recent visit to the site. This is in order to open more land on the projected 100-ha stretch south of the initial 20-ha area. It is said that more than 9,000 solar panels have already been installed.

The main transformer, which arrived from China and is currently in Harare, is being awaited by the contractors after inverters and transformers were installed. It should arrive soon, according to Sam Mabvira. He is the project manager at Power Ventures. The first 5 MW are at 90% completion. They should connect to the grid in the coming three months. He stated that they intend to reach 25 MW by the final quarter of 2023.

The project’s biggest obstacle

The project’s biggest obstacle, according to Mr. Mabvira, is getting access to foreign currency. He appealed to the government for assistance. The company was making up for the lost time in order to contribute to the nation’s grid by providing cleaner energy. This is according to Power Ventures management.

Independent power producers would contribute to easing the present energy challenges. This is according to Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo. As shops and communities will have access to energy, the solar project is anticipated to play a significant role in connecting nearby boreholes with solar pumps.

Large natural resources, such as coal, gold, and solar power, are plentiful in Matabeleland North, and their extraction will propel the province toward development. As part of a government initiative to lessen energy-related emissions by roughly a third by the end of 2030, Zimbabwe is also increasing solar power and, to a lesser extent, hydropower.

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