Three solar plants sites identified

THREE sites have been identified around the country for the development of solar power projects expected to generate about 500 megawatts (MW), a Cabinet minister has said.

Giving an update on the geographic information systembased (GIS) selection of sites for the installation of photovoltaic solar power projects last week, minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology, Amon Murwira said the power plants would be built at the Archie Henderson Research Station Farm (Henderson), Vreigevight Farm in Figtree near Bulawayo and Onzerust Farm near Manhize, between Mvuma and Chivhu.

The three sites were selected from a total of nine identified sites based on the ability of the grid or sub-station to accommodate the plant, land availability, topographic considerations such as slope, lack of settlements within the establishment, shading from mountains and local leadership and community buy-in.

Proximity of the solar projects to the grid to avoid high cost of infrastructure construction and reduce transmission losses were the other considerations to ensure least cost tariff to the consumer and improved performance of solar farms.

Cognisance was also taken that the country has vast renewable energy resources such as solar that have largely remained unexploited. Development of the solar projects follow the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the government and SKYPOWER Global Group of Companies for the development of large-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar power projects to increase power availability in the country.

This is in line with the System Development Plan which targets to generate approximately 865MW of grid solar energy by 2030 and secure Zimbabwe’s long-term energy supply needs. — New Ziana

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