Companies

Old Mutual Zimbabwe to construct 650kw solar plant

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

Diversified financial services group, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, is set to construct a solar plant to power at is head office complex in the capital, with a capacity to generate 650 kilowatt.

The project will be undertaken by Easy Power Limited and is expected to be completed in 25 weeks at a cost of US$2.5m.

Old Mutual Zimbabwe group chief executive officer, Samuel Matsekete, said the company will roll out similar projects to all its buildings across the country.

“It’s a historic moment for Old Mutual Zimbabwe. The project is coming at an appropriate time because the country is experiencing severe power shortages. It will take 25 weeks to complete meaning in October this year we will be back here to officially commission the plant and switch over to a much more cleaner source of power,” Matsekete said at the ground breaking ceremony at the company’s headquarters in the capital.

Old Mutual is also running its Eastgate shopping mall which opened recently on solar. It’s generating about 100kw of electricity.

Apart from that, the company operates Kupinga mini-hydro Plant in Chipinge which was commissioned in 2017 and generates 1.6 megawatts of electricity. The project was financed to the tune of US$1.5m.

The project come at a time when Zimbabwe is experiencing severe power shortages. The power utility is generating less than 1000MW against a national demand of 1 800MW at peak hours.

To cover for the shortfall, the country is importing from regional suppliers, especially Eskom of South Africa and Hydro Cahorra Bassa of Mozambique.

The Old Mutual project comes at a time when Zimbabwe is in urgent need of adapting its electricity production to climate change.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the PARIS Climate Change Accord signed in 2015, which largely seeks to phase out the use of coal and turn to cleaner energy.

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