Construction of the 20MW Harava Solar Project is now 70 percent complete and expected to start feeding into the national grid at Dema substation in two months time, giving Zesa Holdings extra energy to supply several thousands of households.
The ground-mounted solar station in Seke Rural District will provide clean energy in daylight hours.
However, Zesa has — through its oversized Kariba South station — what amounts to a storage battery in Lake Kariba, able to cut back at the hydro station when solar power is fed into the grid and save water for night use, when it can use spare capacity to increase output above the average.
Harava Solar co-founder and chief executive officer Mr Ainos Ngadya said the final stage to the completion of the plant involved the mounting of the panels.
“The project is now 70 percent complete and we are expecting to start feeding into the national grid in the next two months. All the equipment required to complete the project is now available, so we are sure the power plant will soon evacuate power into the national grid, feeding into the Dema substation,” said Mr Ngadya.
He said upon completion, his company would start scholarship programmes mainly focusing on the girl child in line with the continent’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of improving gender parity.
Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi yesterday toured the project and expressed satisfaction with its progress. The minister, however, warned those holding on to solar generation licences for speculative purposes that they risk having the licences cancelled.
“My ministry has to be clear on this; every project that has been licenced must do like what is happening here. We want to encourage those that has been licensed to begin. Those who are holding licences for speculative purposes, I am sorry to say that hour is long gone.”
Last year, Government granted national project status to Harava Solar for the construction of the solar plant at a cost of almost US$25 million.
The project got preferential treatment, which included exemption from paying import duty and other taxes.
The project entails building of a 20MW solar farm, with all the power earmarked to be fed into the national grid through the Dema 330kV substation.
A 132kV transmission line spanning 10km from the solar park to Dema substation is in the process of being set up.
Meanwhile, Mr Ngadya handed over a donation of an assortment of goods worth $1 million to the Seke community to help contain the spread of Covid-19.
The goods, which were received by Chief Seke, Mr Stanely Chimanikire, included face masks and solar lamps that will be shared among institutions within the community, which include police stations and clinics.