Econet rolls out solar plants

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PHILLIMON MHLANGA IN VICTORIA FALLS
Distributed Power Africa Zimbabwe (DPAZ), a renewable energy unit of Econet Group, will commission two solar power plants in the next two months, Business Times can report.
DPAZ Zimbabwe’s chief executive officer, Divyajeet Mahajan, on Friday disclosed that a 600 kilowatt (kw) solar power plant in the Great Dyke farm near Harare and the other one in Willowvale industrial area in the capital, will be rolled out before the end of April this year. The intention, he said, is to invest in more solar plants across the country and the company is prepared to splurge more than $250 million on the project.
“In the next two months we will commission a 600kw solar plant the Great Dyke in a farm near Harare and the other one will be in the Willowvale industrial area,” Mahajan spoke at the CEO Africa Roundtable meeting in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
He indicated that the power generated from the first two solar plants will be connected to the national grid, but targeting commercial and industrial customers.
The development comes at a time when the country is battling electricity shortages due to low generation capacity by the country’s power utility ZESA, resulting in it failing to meet the power demand, leaving corporate customers paying substantial  amounts for undependable grid electricity plus back-up generation from diesel powered generators. To cover for shortages, the power utility  now imports  about 100 megawatts from South Africa power utility Eskom and Cahora Bassa of Mozambique because of slightly improved power generation after the commissioning of Kariba South Hydroelectric Power Station expansion project in March last year, which added 300MW to the national grid.