Govt to announce solar tender winners

HARARE - Government is soon expected to announce two winning bids of the 100 megawatts (MW) solar projects tender aimed at improving power supply in the country, businessdaily has established.

The winners were due to be announced in July 2013 by the then Energy minister Elton Mangoma but the pronouncement was later postponed.

The tender was floated early last year.

Zimbabwe — currently producing approximately 1 200MW against demand of about 2 200MW — is grappling power cuts that have hit both commercial and domestic consumers.

The multi-million solar projects — to be set up in the sunshine-abundant Zvishavane and Gwanda — would harness power from the sun to produce 100 MW of concentrated electricity that would be fed into the national grid.

Sources close to the developments yesterday told businessdaily that the Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire will be announcing the winning bids “very soon”.

“We are expecting the 100 MW to be added to the national grid by end of this year,” the source added.
More than five companies, including local and international investors, responded to the tender which was floated early last year by the Zimbabwe Power Company.

Efforts to get comment from Mavhaire were fruitless as his mobile went unanswered while he had not responded to questions sent to him by time of going to press.

However, he was recently quoted in the media saying government is working on an extensive energy project that will see eight solar stations being launched across the country this year to curb the current national deficit.

“Zimbabwe is moving to clean energy. With solar energy there is no air pollution and ozone layer degradation,” said Mavhaire.

The generation of solar energy will come as a relief to domestic, industrial, commercial entities that have been grossly affected by the constant power cuts, going as long as 18 hours a day.

Energy is a fundamental economic enabler that determines productivity.

Recently, Zimbabwe contracted Chinese company Sino Hydro to construct two additional units at the Kariba hydroelectric power station at a cost of $368 million.

Upon completion, Kariba will add 300MW to the national grid.

Government has also awarded another Chinese company, China Machinery Engineering Company, the tender for the expansion of Hwange thermal power station.

The project will cost at least $1,3 billion and the additional units will produce 600 MW when completed.

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