Africa Moyo Deputy News Editor
Independent power producer, Centragrid (Pvt) Limited, has resumed commercial operations after obtaining a certificate which allows it to charge Zesa Holdings for the power it feeds into the national grid.
The company was in a hot commissioning period from July 30 to October 11, where it was receiving electricity from the grid and also supplying power to the grid.
Centragrid is feeding 2,5 megawatts of electricity from its solar farm in Nyabira.
The company’s director Mr Victor Utedzi told The Herald that obtaining the certificate means they have moved from the period where they were “fixing and testing the equipment”.
“On 11 October we agreed with everybody after all the test runs and everything, that the equipment is working,” he said. “We then agreed that we have finished the commissioning period.
“When you have finished the commissioning period, you sign a commercial certificate that says you are now into commercial operations.
“We are now exactly like Hwange Power Station, we are now exactly like Kariba; there is no testing, there is nothing that still needs to be done. We have tested everything and this thing is working properly.”
Mr Utedzi said the commercial certificate meant they could now “begin to supply invoices” for power supplied.
“We now have to be paid on time just like any other power station,” he said.
Mr Utedzi said they are feeding 2,5MW into the national grid under phase one of the project, which chewed US$6 million.
Phase one has 8 000 panels.
The 2,5MW being generated can power between 750 and 1 200 households depending on their size, making the project critical in the face of serious power challenges due to low water levels in Kariba Dam and obsolete equipment at thermal power stations — Harare, Munyati, Bulawayo and Hwange.
In total, Centragrid will generate 25MW, which will require about US$30 million.
Mr Utedzi said they were now “raising money” so that they expand.
Centragrid’s project was granted national project status, allowing it to import equipment duty free.
Sinohydro Corporation of China, which has built Kariba South Hydro Power Station and is working on Hwange Thermal Power Station expansion, is the project contractor.
Centragrid, which is locally owned, plans to increase power output to 50MW going forward and has already identified other sites to implement the projects.