Zimbabwe plans to construct 40.8MW solar plant

22 November 2016

Private energy company TD Energy has announced plans to invest US$ 80m to construct a 40.8 MW solar plant in the Zimbabwean town of Norton, with the aim of navigating the nation’s energy shortage solutions in the direction of renewable energy. TD Energy, which is owned by the former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono, is the corporation that has received regulatory authorization approvals from the Environmental Management Agency, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority to carry on with the construction of a 40.8 MW PV plant in the nation. It is hoping to start construction on the plant next year, and is estimated to take 14 months to complete.

One possible obstacle was whether the plant would be compliant and complimentary to the already over-strained power grid in the state, but the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), who will procure the power produced at the plant, have given it the green light to be linked to the grid. TD Energy will be investing a total of USD 80 million in the development, and has secured the financial support from an anonymous foreign partner. The connection of TD Energy plant to the grid will boost local generation, network efficiencies and operational flexibility and is thus greatly recommended.

The Norton project site is near the ZETDC grid, as is required by regulatory provisions and offers good balance in terms of harvestable sunlight and the concentration that does not damage panel cells. The Environmental Management Authority has approved the project saying the plant had no broad or uncontrollable undesirable impacts as to hamper its realization. “It is thus recommended that the project proceeds with the mitigation measures suggested,” said EMA. Stakeholder discussions have been held with inhabitants from the Norton community and no oppositions were raised against the development, which will generate new jobs, advance power supply and save the nation a lot of money.

Extract from constructionreviewonline.com

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