ZPC solar project study complete

ZTE Corporation has completed the feasibility study for Zimbabwe Power Company’s Insukamini solar project amid indications that it was also finalising the application for a concessionary loan from China Exim Bank.

The contract for the construction of the 100 megawatt Insukamini Solar Project was signed between ZPC and ZTE on October 23, 2015 after a due diligence exercise.

ZPC acting managing director Engineer Joshua Chirikutsi told The Herald Business that it was encouraging that application for project funding by ZTE Corporation to China Eximbank was now being finalised.

“The feasibility study has been done and is under review by ZPC and ZTE with expectations that it would be concluded by end of April 2017.

“Land acquisition for the project is in progress and application for the National Project Status has been done,” said Mr Chirikutsi.

He said ZPC is also going to do the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study as well as price negotiations.

On funding, Mr Chirikutsi added that the power company is applying for a concessional loan from China Exim Bank and construction will commence after finalisation of the Conditions Precedence, which are currently in progress and after financial closure has been reached.

“We have a mutual business relationship and have always been working closely and amicably in the best interest of the project. Should there be any issues that need clarification or establishment of common ground, the two parties have clear channels of communication and to this end, no point of disagreement has been experienced,” said Mr Chirikutsi.

“ZPC and ZTE are in constant communication and the two parties are diligently working on the feasibility study of the project with due processes being followed,” he said.

The State Procurement Board last year awarded tenders for solar power projects with a combined output of 300 megawatts to three firms.

The solar projects, each with capacity for 100MW, were awarded to Intratrek Zimbabwe (Gwanda), ZTE Corporation (Insukamini) and Number 17 Metallurgical China (Munyati).

Awarding of the contracts brought finality to the protracted evaluation of the multi-million dollar solar initiatives.

Insukamini solar project will be constructed at an estimated cost of $160 million, Gwanda $171 million and Munyati for about $180 million in a development that will go a long way in alleviating the power shortage in the country. According to ZPC, construction is expected to take an average of 18 months from the date of financial closure.

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