Three independent power producers — Mopower Solar Limited, Zororo Energy Company Limited and Guruve Solar Park Limited — have submitted applications for licensing to set up power projects with a combined generating capacity of 155 megawatts (MW).
BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
Mopower Solar Limited is proposing to invest in a 100MW solar plant at Orient Farm in Somabula near Gweru in the Midlands Province, as well as the construction of 6km of a 132kV transmission line to connect the proposed solar plant to the existing Chertsey Gweru 132kV substation.
Zororo Energy Company Limited intends to invest in a 50MW solar plant at Utopia Farm, Melfort and Bromley in Mashonaland East Province, which includes
the construction of 0,5km of a 132kV lynx transmission line from the proposed Harambe Power Plant to the existing Bromley 132kV substation.
Guruve Solar Park Limited is also seeking to establish a 5,5MW solar plant at Dunavet, Guruve district in Mashonaland Central Province, including the construction of 450 metres of 33kV transmission line to connect the proposed solar plant to the existing Guruve 33kV substation.
In a notice, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) announced it had received applications for licences from the three private power players.
In recent years, government has opened up the sector to participation by independent players, but only a few IPPs have managed to take off, as they face funding challenges.
Zimbabwe’s power demand averages 1 400MW, but the country only generates around 1 200MW, relying on imports from South Africa’s Eskom and Hydro Cahora
Bassa of Mozambique to plug the gap.
This year, Zimbabwe’s power utility completed a $530 million upgrade of the country’s main power station, Kariba South, which saw an additional 300MW being added to the national grid.
An upgrade of the Hwange Thermal Power Station is lined up, with preliminary works already under way. Hwange has an installed capacity of 920MW, but is only generating about a third of that because of antiquated equipment.