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BCC to switch to solar power

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BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has resolved to use solar technology at its offices. Electricity was switched off by Zesa over a $20 million electricity debt.

Report by Blondie Ndebele Own Correspondent

The local authority wants to enter into a partnership with a South African company, Ciel Tere (Private) Limited, to generate power which will be used mainly at its facilities without power.

According to the latest council financial report, at the end of September the local authority owed Zesa $22 054 514,46.

Zesa switched off electricity at the city council’s administrative offices at the City Hall and Revenue Hall at the beginning of this year over the debt, which had continued to balloon.

Ciel Tere (Pvt) Ltd, a company with expertise in solar energy generation, wrote to the local authority with a proposal of a partnership to construct solar-powered power generating plants at SAST, Umguza Dam and Criterion Water Works.

“The purpose of the project is to identify tangible and profitable opportunities to install small solar-powered electric power plants on existing water supply infrastructure in and around Bulawayo,” the report said in part.

“The project aims to realise the potential for renewable energy in water treatment and supply dams, to maximise overall benefits from the infrastructure, reduce greenhouse emissions, and provide an example for roll-out to other regional water managers across the country.”

According to the report, the local authority would benefit through the reduction of Zesa bills, sell excess power to local companies and earn revenue from the sales.

“Zesa is prepared to allow council to use their network to supply power to the dedicated companies, which will not be load shed,” said the report.

The local authority will get green credits which will make it easier for the council to obtain World Bank loans obtained for using renewable energy.

After Zesa switched off power at the local authority, BCC resorted to using generators.

Council schools and community halls have also had their power supplies cut off due to the accumulating debt.

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