GOVERNMENT is set to launch the national Solar Water Heating Programme (SWHP) by March which aims to install and retrofit 250 000 solar geysers over the next five years.
BY TARISAI MANDIZHA
This development comes as government has begun making legislative amendments to ban the use of electric geysers in the country which could save an estimated 300MW to 400MW of power on the national grid.
Speaking at a media briefing in Harare on Friday, Energy and Power Development minister Samuel Undenge said preparations for the Solar Water Heating Programme were now at an advanced stage.
Undenge said government was working on a number of projects to increase power generation in the country.
National power demand was currently estimated at about 2 200 MW against available generation capacity of around 1 200 MW and installed capacity of 1 960 MW.
In previous reports Undenge said concerted efforts were underway to gazette appropriate secondary legislation to enforce the new solar water heating standards, looking at remodeling the model building by-laws.
He said the programme would compel all new housing programmes to ensure that solar heaters become mandatory at every new house before connection to the grid, with incentives being put in place.
Undenge said government had instructed Zesa Enterprises to embark on production of solar water heaters as the geysers would be manufactured locally and that government will also go to tender for three additional local manufacturers.
In his 2016 National Budget, Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa said: “In order to take advantage of the abundance of solar energy in the country, ZPC has signed Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contracts for the construction of Insukamini and Gwanda solar plants with potential to generate 100MW each.
“The parastatal is undertaking feasibility studies, necessary for the mobilisation of funds for the projects.”