Zimbabwe: Covid19 and Currency Shortage Delays Completion of Hwange 5MW Solar Plant

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  • According to Zimbabwe’s local news site The Herald, SolGas they are set to commission a 5-Megawatt solar PV plant in August this year.
  • Construction of the project is at an advanced stage despite Covid-19 induced delays and difficulties in accessing foreign currency.
  • The project has already created over 300 jobs for local communities.

“After reaching full financial closure in February 2018, we had expected to commission the project by end of May, but because of Covid-19 inspired delays, not just in the country but outside as well like in China and South Africa, where we import most of our equipment like the top tier seraphim panels, we have had to push that up to end of August,” said SolGas Energy founder, Mr Tafadzwa Muchinda during a media tour of the facility recently.

Solgas Energy secured US 7million for the construction of the 5MW solar plant, but Mr Mundicha said it was difficult to access foreign currency from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe until February this year.

They we granted national project status and received a lot of assistance from the Government. “We are exempt from duty and we also have a status, which allows us to raise money from pension funds and insurance companies. The company is wholly Zimbabwean and the money is also from Zimbabwe. We are trying to do away with the idea that you need foreign investment all the time you want to start a project in the country.” added Munchicha.

“Right now we have raised this US$7m locally and we are playing our small part in reducing the national import bill for electricity. “The power that we are going to generate from here will go into the national grid. We have a 25-year power purchase agreement with ZETDC,” said Mr Mundicha.

He added that while the Hwange plant will be feeding 5 MW per hour to the national grid, it had capacity to contribute 50 MW and that is their target as Solgas.

As part of social responsibility, SolGas has also undertaken to clear 28km of the power line for the first 5MW and expect to reach 81km as the project grows.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: The Herald


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