Precious Manomano Herald Reporter
Zimplats is planning to construct a 105MW solar power plant at its huge Ngezi mine for powering its mining operations and has been granted a licence for the station from energy regulator Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority (Zera).
In a statement, ZERA said it had received an application from Zimplats, which joins a number of corporates that have installed solar power plants at their headquarters.
“Zimplats was formally licensed to construct, own, operate and maintain the 105 MW solar photovoltaic power plant called Ngezi PV Plant at Ngezi mine in Mhondoro district in Mashonaland West for the purposes of generation and supply of electricity for own consumption at Ngezi Mine but also connected to the grid.
Subject to the Electricity Act and the terms of conditions of this licence, the licensee shall generate electricity for captive power for use by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Private Limited,” read the statement.
The Zimplats plant will be the largest solar installation in Zimbabwe but the building of such stations is growing fast.
Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, is putting up a 1MW rooftop power plant at its premises in Harare; Lumigar Solar (Private) Limited wants a 65MW plant at Cactus Hill Farm in Chegutu; Zhenje Solar Park (Private) Limited intends to construct a 33MW solar power plant at Makokoro in Seke District; and Econet commissioned a 466kW solar power plant at its Willowvale industrial complex in Harare.
Smaller installations of a few panels, sometimes just one or two, are sprouting across residential rooftops and at small businesses across Zimbabwe.
None of the smaller installations is connected to the grid, but all the larger ones are even when they are designed to power the business that erected them without any planned sales to Zesa.
Where there are planned sales, Zesa has a scheme that allows the owner of a solar installation to sell surplus to Zesa but buy power at night or when there is heavy cloud. The customer would then just pay the balance on the bill.