Solar energy: Boost for Marondera

RESIDENTS of the farming town of Marondera and those in surrounding areas are set to benefit from a 400 million solar project which is expected to start early next year.

Wadzanai Madhibha

To help ease the country’s power shortages that have been adversely affecting most sectors of the economy, the project aims to contribute at least 150 megawatts to the national power grid.

The project is located on Rufaro Farm, north of Marondera off the main road from Harare and will be carried out by De Opper Trading a local company and Green Rhino Energy which is run by Germany solar experts.

De Opper trading chief executive officer Francis Gogwe said that the project is set to benefit the residents as it will create job opportunities for the local people.

“The project aims to ease electricity shortage in the region. It is unfortunate the country for a long time has been facing shortages of electricity. We will play a part in powering all the government departments with electricity,” said Gogwe.

“It is also a platform that will create employment for the local people. Apart from that, we will play a role in developing infrastructure in the area. We will also rehabilitate electricity infrastructure in Marondera and other surrounding areas,” he added.

He revealed that once the project starts, it will contribute 50 megawatts in its first phase and will increase to 150 megawatts that they are targeting.

Marondera Central Member of the House of Assembly Ray Kaukonde said that the projects will not only benefit the local people of Marondera, but all the people in the country.

“This project will not benefit the people of Marondera only, but the whole of Mashonaland East and the nation at large. We will also see that other surrounding districts like Goromonzi and Murewa gets power boost and people in those areas will benefit somehow,” said Kaukonde.

He said that some industries have closed due to power shortage hence this move will see the opening of more industries and those that had not closed down will increase their production and boost the country’s economy.

A local farmer Tendayi Buzuzu from Darangwa farm said winter wheat cropping has always been a challenge in the past years due to the power shortage.

“It’s always a problem for us who irrigate crops. Sometimes we can go for many days without electricity.

“There will be a big improvement in winter wheat production as the project will ensure that we have a consistent supply of electricity,” said Buzuzu.

The project is still waiting to be given an operating license by the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority which regulates all forms of energy operators to bring uniformity to regulation of the industry.

People from the town of Marondera are very optimistic that with this project, electricity shortage will be a thing of the past.

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  1. good idea but the project would have increased more power if 400 million was used to harness coal into electricity.

    1. @Andrew unechokwadi kuti dai vasvandisa havo mari iyi to increase dzagara dziriko dze coal coz coal can produce a large output of electricity

      1. somehow this seems like a rip ok Andrew ari right this is an expensive project why 400mln for only 150mw!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! other solar plants are $250mln for 100mw why zim has to be double who is getting the remaining money??? hope they use the “change” wisely into other business ventures which will then allow them to pay back the loan

  2. Lets hope the money will not get into wrong pockets.

  3. Totenda dzamwa dzaswera nebenzi zera might not even issue the license and can take 23yrs to do that Zimbabwe Ma one

  4. iyi mari inobiwa. lets see. positive dvpt

  5. If other towns can have a similar project that will much good for our developmen.

  6. Big talk, small action!

  7. Totenda maruva tadya chakata.

  8. If wishes were horses i could ride them eish!!!!. Dreaming is part of human nature .But being a zibambwean born and bred here I do not see such a project taking place with zanu in power .Who ever is sponsoring the project presumebly westeners are doing it at their own risk. Remember milions of pounds which were bankrolled by the British govt in the early 80s for land distribution purposes mysteriously disappeared wish you good lucky people of Marondera.

  9. but coal is non-renewable resource

    1. but we have lots of it even if we triple our coal electricity and then export as much as we are using we will still have enough coal for 200yrs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      lets use what we have God gave us a reason.It pains me some people in Matabeleland north are poor yet we have call worth over $400bln and we are only using a teaspoon of it.and we also have lots of gas 95% pure methane gas yet our people are poor

      we have the most diamonds yet our diamond industry only comes up with $600 million but the the belguilm diamond industry is worth over $50bln yet they import diamonds and polish them then export why cant we do the same 1mine 2cut 3 polish 4 make jewellery(with 3% that is gem quality)and Zimbabwe should be 10 times richer than it is unemployment kuda kwedu nekutadza kuronga pasina kana capital with good planning on what we have we can go far even 50% economic growth per yr is possible for Zim

  10. Solar energy is a very vibrant market lately….. If they can globalise this energy sector, that is a third or more of our economic barriers busted. So to speak, other industries can be built up from this infrastructure. The Matabeleland could be a real powerhouse of energy production, especially heavy industry. These government people need a kicking, and share info with the public readily.

  11. very soon we are going to be told that project fails to take off coz of lack of funding. Twumari twese twuchabiwa. And whoever gives the licence ari kutodawo mari zhinji yekuti makandinzwa naani kuti ndinopa malicence. Hapana chinobuda. Mark my words!

  12. ZESA has to think outside the box and embrace new power generation technologies. Witness the several housing schemes that are developing throughout the country in areas without ZESA. These developers are not waiting for electricity from ZESA but are using alternative energy sources e.g LPG and Solar for their energy needs. Development will not wait for the lethargic ZESA, and if they do not re-strategize they will experience a shrinking market share. Look at organizations that failed to adopt new technologies such as TelOne and ZIMPOST. TelOne’s fixed line market and cash cow is dwindling at an alarming rate as competitors deploy new communication technologies. ZIMPOST is for all purposes almost dead because of new technologies that are now available to its former customers.

    Fuel Cell power generation is now commercially viable as an alternative renewable source. Ethanol fuel cells are now a possibility. Zimbabwe will be readily positioned to adopt Ethanol Fuel Cell technology because of the abundant ethanol from Green Fuels. And ZESA ?………..

  13. Let me just shed some light on this project. The first thing is that one thing for sure solar is more expensive as compared to coal. However there is a strong drive to move from non renewable to renewable sources of energy. Whilst we might have plenty coal, but the fact of the matter is that it might not last forever and some generations to come might suffer. Also coal power stations are damaging to the environment. The attraction towards solar is that whilst solar its more expensive than coal, the trend is that every other year the cost of producing a megawatt of solar is reducing day by day while that of producing a megawatt is rising. So the long term effect is that solar at one point is going to be cheaper than coal hence the drive to move from coal to solar, its a long term not short term benefit.

    1. In South Africa the 3rd round of the REIPPP competitive biding at 0.95 $ /kWh , demonstrated that Solar has in fact reached a point where it is cheaper than a new coal thermal power plant. The added benefits are no wasteful use of water, no CO2 , no health risks etc . The reality in Southern Africa with its lack of power transmission and distribution networks, is that solar can be deployed right next to the load and be up and running in a few weeks. It does however require funding and a government that facilitates investment and competition vs. ZESA.

  14. haiwa zvipikowo!!toenda maruva tadya chakata shuwa.this is zim.manje manje uchanzwa zvakunzi “MARONDERA SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT FLOPS”,or “MARONDERA RESIDENTS CHEATED”

    In a development that has left Marondera residents gruntling and seething with anger,the much hyped about solar project has hit a dead end after the funds allocated to the project dissappeared under unclear circumstances,this came to light after striking workers downed tools after six months without any salaries,the Project manager could not be reached for comment as he is reportedly out of the country on holiday,speculation is rife that the solar project dream will remain a dream forever-staff reporter

  15. Hydro-electricity is the best. Where will power come from at night? Or on a cloudy day? The days of autonomy in Zimbabwe is only 3 days, bt we cant hve charge accumulators to supply 50MW under such conditions.

  16. Solar electricity has reached grid parity(its cost is the same as that of coal fired) in its largest world market.

    That market lies in the mid range in terms of annual insolation.

    Zimbabwe however lies in the top 5% globally.

    Solar energy has with its very low maintenance factor the capacity to create Zimbabwes most significant competitive advantage for productive purpose.

    We need clear rules of engagement..backed by solid legislation.

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