SHANGHAI Stock Exchange-listed CHiNT Electric Co has reaffirmed its commitment to seeing through the successful implementation of the 100 Megawatts Gwanda solar project after its local partner, Intratrek Zimbabwe, won a contract dispute in the High Court.
The globally reputable solar energy company has also committed to secure a multi-million dollar advance payment guarantee and to deliver the first quarter of the Gwanda project’s total power output within six months after advance payment.
The $173 million solar project, which is set to be built in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, appeared to have gone off rails after a contractual dispute between its local partner Intratrek and state power utility, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC).
CHiNT and Intratrek were the lowest bidders to specification when they won the contract in 2015.
Intratrek then approached the High Court disputing claims by ZPC that it had failed to meet performance terms of the contract and that the contract between the parties had lapsed. The court ruled that the contract is still valid.
It ordered the parties to meet by early February to discuss the way forward and that any party that fails to play ball will be deemed to be in breach of the original dictates of the contract.
CHiNT this week wrote to Energy and Power Development Minister Joram Gumbo, re-affirming its commitment to the project as well as committing to provide advance payment guarantee to the tune of $51 million, being the foreign component for the first 26,1MW.
The company has proposed to implement the project in phases broken down into four modules of almost equal production capacities.
“We are gratified that the High Court of Zimbabwe has vindicated the supremacy of the EPC contract provisions in ruling that Gwanda project remains valid and in their wisdom, declaring the contract valid and calling for parties to engage and find each other for the benefit of the national project,” said CHiNT.
Minister Gumbo said yesterday that Government was still keen on the Gwanda project and desirous to see its successful implementation.
He also said the Ministry of Energy was open to engage CHiNT’s local partner to map the way forward, as directed by the High Court, once outstanding legal issues are resolved.
CHiNT said it awaited the intervention of the Ministry of Energy to make a decisive intervention by exhorting parties to the deal to dialogue on the way forward as directed by the court, which would demonstrate Zimbabwe’s openness for business, as declared by President Mnangagwa.
“This transaction is a litmus test to Zimbabwe’s commitment to upholding the supremacy of contracts and the safety of capital and investor rights,” CHiNT said in its letter.
In the letter, written by its vice president Dr Lin Bosheng, CHiNT said given Zimbabwe has imbued excellent solar radiation conditions and a good electricity transmission system, solar power represented a low hanging fruit for the country to get clean energy.
He also said that building excess power generation capacity through developing sustainable and clean renewable energy sources such as solar power represented an opportunity for Zimbabwe to earn the much sought after forex if it builds capacity to export into Sadc.
“Zimbabwe and China have long-standing, cultural, moral and economic relations dating back over 60 years, so we can count on the support and goodwill of both our Governments to see this project to fruition,” the CHiNT vice president said.
“We therefore want to regain momentum on this project so we hereby approach your office, reaffirming our commitment together with our partners, to deliver 100MW of clean energy into the Zimbabwean grid in the shortest possible time.”
CHiNT is a reputable conglomerate, being the fourth largest private energy enterprise in China with average net assets worth US$30 billion and average annual sales of US$9 billion. The energy company has a Chinese domestic market share of low voltage electronics and components of 40 percent.
With a staff compliment of over 29 000 worldwide, CHiNT has successfully installed an average of 5 000MW of solar generation plants worldwide, including power systems for Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company.
The company has 2 200 distributors in China and sales in over 130 countries.
“We are fully knowledgeable in this field with a track record in both manufacturing PV modules and operating PV power stations.
“We also have research and development facilities based in the US,” Dr Bosheng said.
Dr Bosheng said CHiNT’s track record bore testimony to its competence to deliver on the Gwanda solar project to agreed specifications and will carry the lion’s share of the project’s responsibilities. The Chinese energy giant said its local partner’s responsibility was 5 percent of the project works.
CHiNT said it has played a role in the Chinese sector and is ready and eager to share its experiences, as Zimbabwe embarks on this difficult, but necessary path towards energy self-sufficiency.
Intratrek was nominated CHiNT Electric contractor of the year for 2017 out of hundreds of other international contractors. It said it holds its local partner in high esteem.
CHiNT has experience doing projects in Zimbabwe including the 132Kv Norton sub-station, 132Kv Sherwood substation, 132Kv Gweru substation, 132Kv Zvishavane substation and 132Kv Redcliff substation among others.