Businesses should invest in solar energy: Minister

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BUSINESSES have been urged to invest in solar energy to beat the electricity crisis which is crippling the country’s industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Prolonged power cuts have forced several companies that cannot afford powerful generators to significantly cut production hours, with many small and large businesses turning to solar energy to try and overcome the crisis.

Responding to a question from proportional representation MP Jasmine Toffa (MDC) in Parliament recently, Energy deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa said the government would soon launch an energy policy which is expected to enhance the ease of doing business through reviewing tax and conditions in order to boost the uptake of solar energy.

“As a ministry we are launching our energy policy soon and we have incentives in place to award those who will venture into solar power business as we promote renewable energy in the country.

“We are looking forward to reducing the licensing period to less than a month as opposed to the six months that was there. We know the application process is very long hence the reduction of waiting time as we promote the ease of doing business.

“Businesses should take advantage of renewable energy and utilise the resources we have. We have the sun for free and let us utilise it. Right now companies like Pepsi and Econet have their own solar power,” Mudyiwa said.

The country is currently pushing forward with plans to build four new solar power plants, amid a severe drought that has significantly lowered Kariba’s dam level and in the process the country’s ability to generate hydroelectricity.

With the country experiencing a serious power crisis along with a crippling 300 percent hike in electricity tariffs, using generators is proving to be unsustainable for many businesses given high expenses related to generators.

Meanwhile, parliamentarians have demanded a ministerial statement from the Energy ministry on the state of electricity supply in the country.

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