ZPC finalising funding for Gwanda solar plant

Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) executives are set to visit the Export-Import Bank of China at the end of the month to finalise funding arrangements for a 100-megawatt (MW) solar project in Gwanda.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

The visit comes after a feasibility study on the project established that it was viable to construct a 100MW plant in Gwanda.

In October, ZPC signed a deal with Intratrek Zimbabwe to construct the solar plant at a total cost of $202 million.

Wicknell Chivayo’s Intratrek and its Chinese partners, Chint Electric, will construct power plant. But before the commencement of construction, ZPC commissioned Shanghai Electric Power Design Institute (SEPD), a subsidiary of energy giant Power China, to do the feasibility study.

solar-power

In correspondences gleaned yesterday, the Chinese bank was impressed with the feasibility study and invited ZPC to China. In the letter, the bank wrote to ZPC managing director, Noah Gwariro saying that “following our approval of the feasibility study report, we propose a face-to-face meeting, so as to negotiate the next step: financing the plan”.

“The government approved the deal and funders are ready and this means that the deal is on course,” a source within ZPC said yesterday.

“The project is on course to kick off possibly in May or June.”

This is the first feasibility study done, so far by the companies that were awarded the tender to construct solar projects. The viability studies of two other sites, Munyati and Insukamini, which were contracted to Chinese companies ZTE and Metallurgical 17, are still to be produced.

According to the SEPD feasibility study, Zimbabwe has total radiation of sunshine of between 2 500 and 4 000 hours per year.

According to the SEPD study, the project is feasible at a tariff rate of 18 cents per kilowatt hour, a tariff that sources within ZPC and the energy regulator said was reasonable given the need to bridge the energy deficit, which comes on the impending tariff hike proposed by Energy and Power Development minister, Samuel Undenge.

Zimbabwe is battling power outages due to low generation at Kariba and this has seen worsening power cuts.

4 Responses to ZPC finalising funding for Gwanda solar plant

  1. docbob January 21, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    what happened to the solar power station that was supposed to have been completed by 2013???

  2. Harare January 21, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    $0.18c per kwh is too much for poor people in zimbabwe its way way too much, it will make us the most expensive in the region even prices of basic commodities will sky rocket. My main worry is because the majority of the workforce is poorly paid it means electricity will be there in abundance BUT for the rich $0.13 is more like it

  3. kobo January 21, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    Harare my friend even 13 cents is too high if the full cost is to be passed on to the consumer. Unless the cost for consumer is government subsidised but will zanu do that without sponsorship? Hameno.

  4. Rawboy January 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

    It was a mistake subsidising electricity in the first place.More so when there was barely enough of it.And consumers weened off cheap energy and draconian measures taken against late payers and de-faulters.

    Anyway,solar is very expensive initialy but cheaper eventualy as apart from the inverters, hardly need any maintanance.

    I feel however thermal stations more cost effective .

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