BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
ECONET Zimbabwe says it has invested about $23 million in clean energy projects through its Distributed Power Africa (DPA) unit.
The company has an ambitious plan to spend $250 million in clean energy. The business primarily focuses on rooftop solar power systems for commercial and industrial customers.
DPA has signed up several commercial and industrial clients totalling 2,7MW. These include organisations in the food, beverages and dairy sectors, schools, farms and small business enterprises.
Speaking at the launch of the company’s Willowvale solar plant yesterday, Econet Zimbabwe chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the move to use solar energy was a fundamental platform for economic development.
Speaking at the same event, Energy and Power Development secretary Gloria Magombo said the involvement of DPA in producing renewable energy had come at a time when government aimed at ensuring efficient energy production.
“This advance by DPA is coming at a time when government’s efforts are to increase the use of renewable energy sources and ensure efficient production of energy in the country,” she said.
She said government was working with the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) to reduce barriers which independent power producers (IPP) were facing, including their licensing.
Over the last five years, Zimbabwe’s energy regulator has licensed more than 30 IPPs, but only eight of them have taken off and are currently operational.
Zimbabwe liberalised its energy sector in a bid to promote participation of private capital, but with little foreign capital flowing into Harare because of its status as a high-risk investment destination, most of the projects have suffered stillbirth.
According to Zera, IPPs contribute 137,08 gigawatt hours power to the national grid.