As climate change takes its toll on African countries, the provision of energy, especially electrical energy has declined. Countries which rely on hydro-electricity especially have been hit hard by incessant droughts which have seen water levels in water bodies fall, reducing the capacity of hydro-generated power.
Many countries are turning to clean energy of solar.
Guarantee Risk Solar Energy is one such company in Zimbabwe which is taking the solar revolution across the continent. We spoke to chief executive officer Jonathan Katsidzira.
Who are you
Guarantee Risk Solar Energy is a Division of Guarantee Risk Management Consultants (Private} Limited, and we are focused on developing and operating sustainable renewable solar PV energy infrastructure projects integrated with battery storage technology systems in Joint Venture partnerships with local and international investors and contractors.
Do you see solar energy as the solution to current energy crisis, and how
Zimbabwe is faced with a huge power deficit due to ageing and pollutant coal fired and drought-stricken hydro power plants, respectively, worsened by severe foreign currency shortages to augment the deficit by power imports. The alternative viable solution therefore, is solar power (which can be off-grid/roof-top or grid-connected) as it is environmentally clean, simpler, renewable, sustainable and cost-effective power source from the sun. If solar power projects are integrated with solar battery storage technology innovations, as Guarantee Risk Solar Energy projects will entail, there is the added advantage of a guaranteed and consistent solar power supply to the National Grid on a 24/7 basis, that is, day and night, hence actively driving agriculture, industry, commerce and households activity around the clock.
What is your opinion on government’s removal of duty on solar equipment, and is it enough
We are happy with Government’s deserved support to the solar power industry which currently includes the following concessions:
- Corporate Tax Holidays:- Years 1-5 : 0% tax; Years 6-10: 15% tax; Year 11+ : 25.75% tax
- Duty-free on importation of solar power infrastructure equipment, goods and accessories of goods
- National Project Status eligibility
- Sale of Off-Grid/Roof-top systems excess power to the National Grid Off-Taker, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company(ZETDC)
While the current Government support incentives as highlighted above are appreciated, we believe more should be done by Government, including additional incentives especially to residential, institutional and social sections, which incentives should include the following;-
· Attractive Feed-In tariffs
· Between 25%-50% subsidy towards solar power installation costs
· Priority home loan facility from banks with Government guarantees as collateral
· Interest-free loans
· Government grants
· Eligibility for generation-based incentives per unit of electricity generated
Zimbabwe has been flooded by poor solar panels, making us a dumping ground. How can this be addressed
Government must put in place quality control mechanisms from importation, distribution and installation where all infrastructure equipment must meet specific minimum integrity standards.
How widespread are your operations in Zim and Africa
For now our operations are in Zimbabwe, targeting Goromonzi, Bulawayo and Harare
What is your biggest job to date
250MW solar power project at ongoing development stage, including technical, regulatory and compliance requirements to achieve bankability stage.
What do have on offer for farmers, households, towns and cities
Guaranteed and consistent solar power supply to the National Grid on a 24/7 hour basis, that is day and night, through the integration of our solar power with battery storage technology innovations
What incentives or loans do you offer
For now, focus is only on generating solar power to feed into the National Grid