Victoria Falls to install 100 solar powered street-lights… why is it taking us so long to go solar???

Trycolyn Pikirayi Avatar
Solar panels, ZESA net metering, Zimbabwe, off-grid

I don’t know about your area, but we’ve had a considerable number of power cuts this week due to ZESA’s load shedding.

As cash and foreign currency continues to be a problem, it is expected for companies like ZESA to be affected (see 2008). The Victoria Falls Municipality has foreseen this and as such have opted for the solar energy alternative which is obviously a smart move in my opinion.

As reported by the NewsDay, since last month, parts of Victoria Falls have been experiencing irregular power supplies due to a transformer fault. And since foreign currency is a problem, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has failed to import a replacement for the transformer. I guess that has also given the Municipality of the town even more incentive to go solar.

For starters, Vic Falls has purchased 100 solar-powered street lights. These are meant to be installed before the end of the year. However with time, the town intends to go big on solar as well as on other energy alternatives in a bid to go green. The Vic Falls Municipality understands how important it is for the town to remain ‘lit’ since it is a tourist destination.

So now to the question we should be asking ourselves: why hasn’t Zimbabwe adopted solar energy on a larger scale yet???

Zimbabwe has an average of 1200kw/m2 of solar power available and studies reveal that only a negligible amount is being used due to the slow adoption of solar power technologies within the country. I understand the initial buy into solar energy can be expensive, but is it not a worthy investment?

If we have so much solar energy at our disposal, clearly we are under utilising our resources. Yes of course for now we might need to import a lot of the components such as batteries etc. but can we not at the moment be investing in programs (at Polytechnics, Universities etc.) that teach people on solar technologies? But not bad since we now have a full ministry dedicated to scholarships, we might as well send students to other countries like our dear friend China so that they learn the tech from the experts.

Nevertheless, it would be unfair for me not to recognise the efforts that are already underway. For example, the application by the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) for the Construction of a Gwanda solar photovoltaic power plant.

The plan by ZPC also involves constructing a 15-kilometre 132kV line from the solar plant to the existing Gwanda 132kV substation; a 132kV line bay at the new Gwanda solar plant site; a 132kV line bay at the existing Gwanda 132kV substation, a 20-varb fast response reactor at Gwanda 132kV substation and substation ancillary equipment.

But we can’t get too excited now can we? because apart from most of such proposals turning out to just be mere talk, knowing Zim Regulatory Authorities the way I (now) do, its not easy to obtain a licence even for no brainer projects such as these.


One response

  1. Chakachaya Manyoka

    100 chete? Tsk!!!

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