UK investors, govt meet over $5,2b solar project

The government has promised to expedite approval and paperwork for the construction of a $5,2 billion solar power project in Marondera.

A house using solar energy, which is set to ease the country’s power shortages.
A house using solar energy, which is set to ease the country’s power shortages.

UK investors from clean energy company Green Rhino Energy recently met government officials to discuss the prospects of their solar power investment. They partnered with a local company called De Opper Trading to form De Green Rhino Energy and held marathon meetings with various ministries and government departments, according to chief executive Francis Gogwe.

De Green Rhino is expected to roll out solar power stations around the country with a capacity to generate up to 2,500 megawatts at a cost of $5,2 billion over the next 15 years. The company will build a 50MW solar station in Marondera. This will then be upgraded to 150MW at the cost of $400m. Construction is expected to start in June.

Construction had initially been projected to start in January, but has been stalled by government bureaucracy, which De Opper feared could put off their investors. Green Rhino is currently working on four other clean energy investments in Namibia, South Africa, Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Its Marondera solar farm hit a breakthrough following the allocation of a farm near the town by the Ministry of Lands and Rural Settlement. They have already pegged the site and completed the Environmental Impact Assessment with the relevant authorities. But officials lamented that it took them a year to acquire the farm Offer Letters and another year to get Project Support letters.

They are now waiting for the Generation Licence from the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, which takes a month to process, authorising them to start shipping in the machinery for construction to start.

Gogwe said the participation of foreign investors had instilled much-needed confidence and the project had been given national status. The authorities had assured the investors they would speedily process the outstanding paperwork.

“As soon as all paper work is done, we will start. We are glad because government has assured us that everything is on course and by June, construction of the Marondera power station will commence,” Gogwe added.

Once the Marondera solar power station is up and running it will provide electricity for 80,000 people and allow economic growth in the area.

Post published in: News
  1. Audrey Moyo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *