Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Econet) is set to become one of the first companies in Zimbabwe to set up a photovoltaic power plant at its premises in Willowvale for own consumption.
This comes as the country has been experiencing power outages in the past decade due to low electricity production resulting in companies ratcheting up overhead costs by using diesel generators.
Zimbabwe requires close to 2 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity daily, but is only producing half this resulting in some parts of the country experiencing load shedding.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) yesterday said the telecommunications giant has applied to construct a 0,45MW rooftop photovoltaic power plant.
“The purpose of the generation facilities is for own consumption. The project will also entail the connection of the proposed solar system to the Highfield 132/33/11Kv substation,” the energy regulator said.
Econet already has interests in the energy sector through its subsidiary Econet Solar which launched an energy power device a couple of years ago that was expected to light up most of rural Africa that lack access to reliable electricity supplies.
Last year, Econet’s renewable energy-focused subsidiary — Distributed Power Africa (DPA) — said the installation of solar infrastructure at the group’s offices was in line with the mobile telecommunication firms’ objective of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and reducing our carbon footprint.
The Econet Group’s renewable energy firm has its technical team in the country, although operations are based in South Africa.
The firm, which operates under Econet Group’s Econet New Enterprises division, is also eyeing markets in Zambia, Botswana and Kenya.
DPA is currently offering solar solutions to businesses and corporations, and as for residential, the company says it has been pitching to local property developers before extending the facility to individuals.
“In terms of how it’s structured, it’s structured on a lease financing basis where the customer, it’s currently business-to-business, does not have to pay any up-front costs for installation,” DPA business development executive Joseph Kuhudzai said recently.
“So they then pay as if they are paying your normal electricity rates on a lease basis over a period from 10 years plus. We truly want to make going solar a zero risk, zero Investment decision,” he said.
He added that implementing solar is a long-term investment and with the company’s mature operational structure.
“We make sure that you maximise your and our investment. We are not in the game to make a quick margin on the sale, but rather want to share the upside with you over the period of the contract,” Kuhudzai added. DailyNews