By Kudzanai Gerede
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe today launched the first industrial solar plant in the country at its Willowvale complex in Harare, as the company moves towards clean and reliable energy.
The 466 KW solar plant will operate under a 25 year Independent Power Producer (IPP) License which will enable the company to self-consume energy for its internal operations, including at its base stations.
Speaking at the launch, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe CEO, Douglas Mboweni said the company is guided by its vision to harness alternative clean energy in the context of climate change.
“Our organisation launched a Green campaign in 2018 which has seen the company investing in alternative renewable energies starting with six of our own business premises,”
“The commissioning of our Willowvale solar power plant demonstrates our focus to ensure that all our offices nationwide transition to clean and reliable energy as rapidly as possible, ” said Mboweni.
The solar plant, engineered and installed by an Econet company, Distributed Power Africa (DPA) has 1 435 panels generating 780 MwH per annum.
Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Dr Gloria Magumbo, who unveiled the plant said the latest innovation by Econet was a harbinger to improved alternative energy solutions in the country.
“The commissioning of this plant marks a historic event in the renewable energy sector in the country as it signals the beginning of large scale solar adoption in the commercial and industrial space,” said Magumbo.
Zimbabwe has liberalized the energy industry but participation by the private sector remains subdued owing to capital constraints.
Reliable and clean energy alternatives offers a window of opportunity for companies to utilize at a time business in the country is being hampered by constant power cuts.
Analysts say adopting alternative power solutions like solar energy has the potential to save millions of dollars in importation of electricity from neighbouring countries.
Zimbabwe imports electricity to the tune of US$ 5 million per week from South Africa’s Eskom and HCB from Mozambique..