Solar Turning Zimbabwe’s Dream Of Reliable Power Into A Reality

National Economy

The population of the  Republic of Zimbabwe is approximately 15.11 million people[1]. In 2019, only 41.09% of the people in this landlocked country in Southeast Africa had access to electricity[2]

In 2019, Zimbabwe’s economy was ranked 112th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent[4] on the export of gold, raw tobacco, ferroalloys, nickel ore, and diamonds.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Zimbabwe signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to a 33% reduction in per capita emissions in 2030, compared to business as usual. Zimbabwe’s commitment is conditional on international support.

In 2019, Zimbabwe’s state-owned utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, (ZESA) operated only one hydropower plant and four coal-fired plants with a total capacity of 2,240 MW[6]. Zimbabwe had only 17 MW of off-grid solar photovoltaic capacity[7] by year-end 2020.

In 2019, ZESA[8] used renewable energy (57.9 %) and coal (42.1 %) to generate electricity in Zimbabwe. Hydropower was the dominant source of renewable energy used to generate electricity in the country.

Recent renewable energy projects in Zimbabwe include:

  • 25 MW Solar Project – Indian engineering company, Power Ventures is continuing work on the Chidobe-Mizpah solar project at a site in the Hwange District in the western region of the country.
  • 20 MW Solar Project – Pakistani company, Richaw Solar is continuing work on the Harava solar project at a site in the Seke District, approximately 25 miles southwest of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – Zimbabwe company, Plum Solar is continuing work on the Wartrail solar project at a site in the Bulilimamangwe District in the southwestern region of the country.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – Power Ventures is continuing work on the Guruve solar project at a site in the in the Guruve District in the northern region of the country.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – Richaw Solar is continuing work on the Sunset Technologies Solar Park at a site near the town of Gwanda in the southwest region of the country.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In July 2021, Zimbabwe company, SolGas announced plans to build a solar project at a site in the Hwange District in the western region of the country.
  • 6 MW Solar Project – South African solar company, Blockpower is continuing work on a solar project for the Tanganda Tea Company in the Chipinge District in the eastern region of the country.

Conclusions

Over the past decade, Zimbabwe’s government has failed to consistently invest in the nation’s power grid.  As a result, Zimbabwe has experienced increased frequency and duration of power outages, which has crippled the nation’s struggling economy.

Zimbabwe has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources including solar, hydropower, biomass, wind, and geothermal. If developed, Zimbabwe’s renewable energy resources could provide electricity to everyone in the beautiful country.

Fortunately, international aid organizations have begun to invest in renewable energy projects in Zimbabwe. Solar and other forms of renewable energy now offer Zimbabwe the dream of reliable, affordable electricity!

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Zimbabwe Population (20201 –  September 1, 2021, www.worldometers.info

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Zimbabwe”

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity – Zimbabwe

[5] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Reuters “Why Zimbabwe Faces Worst Power Cuts In Three Years” by MacDonald Dzirutwe, May 16, 2019

[7] International Renewable Energy Agency: Zimbabwe

[8] Our World In Data, Zimbabwe:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

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1 thought on “Solar Turning Zimbabwe’s Dream Of Reliable Power Into A Reality”

  1. Happy to know that Zimbabwe is closer to clean, reliable and affordable energy for all. It is sad that some governments do not realize how important it is to invest in clean energy but thankfully these international organizations are here to help bridge the gap.

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