Sable Chemicals to construct 50MW solar plant

Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent

Ammonium nitrate (AN) fertiliser manufacturing company, Sable Chemicals, is carrying out a feasibility study on constructing a 50MW solar power plant at the company site just outside Kwekwe.

The solar power plant will benefit both the company and the country as some power will be fed onto the national grid. Sable Chemicals’ projects development subsidiary, Tatanga Energy (Private) Limited, is spearheading the feasibility study.

Briefing stakeholders during a consultation meeting in Kwekwe on Thursday, Tatanga Energy’s technical director, Engineer Culvin Chipfumbu said the project was set to improve power supply and eventually production of AN. Sable Chemicals switched off its electrolysis plant in October 2015 because of a high electricity bill.

It has had to import liquid ammonia from South Africa for fertiliser manufacturing.

The electrolysis plant required about 115MW of electricity per month.

“We are part of the Masawara Group of companies and we intend to construct a solar power plant at the Sable Chemicals plant as we seek to generate our own power for the making of ammonium nitrate,” said Eng Chipfumbu.

“So far, we have applied for a license to produce 50MW with a view of expanding to more than 150MW in the long run.”

Eng Chipfumbu said the construction would be done in stages with the first phase of the project already having a licence.

Of the power generated at the plant, 10MW would be fed into the national grid.

Depending on appliances used, 10MW can light up about 4 000 high density households.

“The company needs power for its operations and as a nation, we also require power,” said Eng Chipfumbu. “As a company, we will consume some whilst the remainder will be fed into the national grid.

“Schools and other infrastructure within the district are also set to benefit from the project.”

Eng Chipfumbu said potential development partners were in place to bankroll the project once paperwork was done.

“We are currently at feasibility stage and very soon we will be at the financial close stage where we will then unveil our sponsors we are working with on this project,” he said.

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