Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Harare City Council is committed to investing more on the establishment of solar-powered traffic lights and street lights as a way of saving the environment, an official has said.
The local authority has installed 897 solar street-lights across the city.
In an interview at the ongoing Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, the city’s corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said council was going to focus more on installing solar traffic lights, and use solar power for infrastructure such as clinics.
“Our thrust now going forward is to have more solar lights for streets and for other infrastructure such as clinics,” he said. “This is something already in motion and we have several clinics from Hopley, Budiriro, Glen View and Hatcliffe that are solar powered.”
Mr Chideme said council saved an average of 392,866kg of carbon offset on the street lights in 2018.
“We have 897 solar streets in Harare and they generate 844,343kwh per year, thus in using solar we saved carbon offset of 392,866kg, a figure we have never recorded before,” he said.
“It means that we helped the environment in a big way because that amount of fossil fuel saved is equivalent to 16 000 trees saved from deforestation.”
Mr Chideme hailed Government for removing duty on solar products, saying it will increase usage of solar power in Harare. He said vandalism was hampering the rollout of the project.
“We are losing a lot of our street lights to vandalism,” said Mr Chideme. “The thieves steal batteries and panels and many of them have been convicted in the courts of law for committing that offence.”
The city used to have 35 solar controlled traffic intersections, but these have now been reduced to 20 due to vandalism.
Mr Chideme said to become a world class city by 2025, the city required partners to assist with the roll-out of the solar projects.