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50MW Marondera solar project takes off

DE-GREEN Rhino Energy’s 50 megawatts (MW) Marondera solar project, valued at US$65 million and to be constructed at Rufaro Farm, is set to take off next month in a development that has excited both the proprietors and funders.

The project would become the latest high impact project to be rolled out for the benefit of Mashonaland East and the nation at large after the US$1 billion Manhize iron and steel plant that is being rolled out by Tsingsan Mining Investments Zimbabwe.

It will also be a major boost for Mashonaland East’s provincial capital of Marondera in terms of investment as the Zesa Pension Fund mall being constructed along the Harare-Mutare highway is nearing completion and could open its doors to members of the public during the second quarter of the year.

The Marondera solar project which has been in the pipeline for the past few years is among a handful of projects that Finance minister Mthuli Ncube announced that would also benefit from the government implementation agreement (GIA) in the long run late last year.

Three components make up the GIA and these are the Project Development Support Agreement (PDSA), Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Undertaking for Foreign Currency Convertibility and Transfer.

The guarantees will cushion solar power projects that have sizes ranging from 5MW to 100MW and a cumulative capacity of 998MW at a cost of US$1 billion and will speed up the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) installations.

A government implementation agreement sets out terms on which the government provides incentives and assistance to the prospective partners. It also includes a project development support agreement, a power purchase agreement, and an agreement with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for guaranteed payments of dividends and foreign loan repayments to external investors and lenders.

In an interview, De-Green Rhino Energy co-director Joachim Baumgartner, who is based in the United Kingdom, hailed the conducive environment that has been availed by the Second Republic led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We are excited to announce that if everything goes according to plan, we will be starting the Marondera solar project and we thank the conducive environment that has been created by the government. On our part, we have ensured that all necessary documentation is in place, and we are geared to set the ball rolling. — New Ziana

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