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.
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.