100MW Solar Power Station
100MW solar power station for Gweru
ONE of the Independent Power Producers (IPP), Solar Group Zimbabwe, has applied for a licence to construct a 100 megawatt solar plant in the Midlands province.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) said in a notice that it has received an application from Solar Group Zimbabwe to construct, own, operate and maintain the power station to be called “Midlands Solar Plant”.
The regulatory authority said the solar plant would generate electricity that would be fed onto the national grid.
“The proposed plant will be located at Chertsey Farm, Gweru, Midlands province. The project will also include the construction of a 0,2 kilometre of a 132kilovolts line from the Midlands Solar Plant to the existing Chertsey 132 Kv substation,” said Zera.
It said the application for a power generation licence has been made in terms of provisions of Section 40 of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) of 2002 that provides that no person shall operate an electricity undertaking without a licence issued by the regulator.
Since 2010, Zera has licensed over 24 IPPs and the projects are at different stages of development.
Most of the projects have, however, been undermined by a shortage of funds and lack of clear policies in the energy sector.
In June, Zera chief executive officer Engineer Gloria Magombo said only 10 of the licensed IPPs were producing electricity at low levels.
At the moment, Zimbabwe is producing about 1 100MW combined from thermal and hydropower stations.
Over the years, the country has experienced power challenges due to lack of investment by the power utility in energy generation.
As a result, this saw Zimbabwe’s power utility, Zesa embarking on massive load shedding throughout the country.
Against this background, the manufacturing sector through its representative body, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, has since 2009 been struggling to improve capacity utilisation to competitive levels with intermittent power supplies cited as a major hurdle.