GOVERNMENT’S drive to increase electricity generation is gathering momentum after a local power firm, Centragrid (Pvt) Limited starting to feed 2,5MW into the national grid yesterday.
ZESA Holdings engineers have been camped at the Nyabira-based solar firm in the last few days as they connected the solar farm into the national grid.
Centragrid director Mr Victor Utedzi told The Herald Thursday that he was pleased their project has started feeding power into the grid under phase one of the project, which has gobbled about US$6 million.
In total, they will generate 25MW and would require about US$30 million.
“I am happy and everyone is happy here that we have successfully done the technical commissioning of the project. We have played our part in increasing power generation in the country,” said Mr Utedzi.
The 2,5MW can power between 750 and 1 200 households depending on their size, making the project critical in the face of serious power challenges due to low water levels and obsolete equipment at thermal power stations — Harare, Munyati, Bulawayo and Hwange.
Centragrid, a locally-owned company, is developing a 25MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Nyabira, about 35km north-west of Harare.
The project has been granted national project status, allowing it to import equipment duty-free.
Mr Utedzi said the 2,5MW being fed into the grid are under phase one of the project.
“Coming into August/September, we are now starting phase two taking the project all the way to 25MW so we will add another 2,5MW and then we will be with 25MW by sometime next year, that is the development,” said Mr Utedzi.
He said phase one has 8 000 panels and another nine blocks of 8 000 panels are coming up.
Sinohydro Corporation of China is the project contractor.
Mr Utedzi said the tariff at which ZESA is buying electricity from them is “fair” and “cost reflective”.
“That means it’s a good tariff from an investment perspective,” he said.
Government announced an electricity tariff review yesterday, which might see Independent Power Producers (IPPs) such as Centragrid, getting more money for their power.
Centragrid plans to increase power output to 50MW going forward and has already identified other sites to implement the projects.