Zimbabwe confronts poor electricity supply with $14m solar project
London, Nov. 12, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Zimbabwe plans to gradually confronts its poor electricity supply with an ambitious multi-million dollar solar investment
African Transmission Corporation Holdings (ATC), a consulting firm specialising in infrastructure project financing, has allocated $14 million for the implementation of the Gwanda solar photovoltaic project in South Matabeland Province, Zimbabwe as part of a coordinated efforts to improve electricity generation and supply
The Gwanda solar project will produce 100 MWp. The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has awarded it to Intratrek Zimbabwe, which will implement the project in three phases.
Recently, the company based in the capital Harare notified ZPC of ATC’s financial support and, above all, requested a full review of the project, which will result in a report.
Commissioning in 2020
The production of “this comprehensive report is part of a coherent strategy that, if adopted, will allow construction to begin before the end of 2019 and the operation of a 10 MW solar photovoltaic plant by the end of the second quarter of 2020,” says Wicknell Chivayo, Director of Intratrek Zimbabwe.
He added that “the 10 MW, once commissioned, would set a positive precedent on the basis of which the financing of the remaining 90 MW would be mobilized“. This project, which could boost the capacity of the national electricity grid, has been significantly delayed due to the difficulties encountered in the financial mobilization process.
China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, a Chinese state-owned insurance company, had decided to support the project. It then cancelled its support because of a previous loan guaranteed to the Zimbabwean State. Finally, Chint Electric, a Chinese electrical engineering giant, came to Intratrek Zimbabwe’s rescue with a $52 million guarantee in March 2018.
Fundraising for the implementation of the Gwanda solar project is also hampered by the risks associated with currency changes that have seen Zimbabwe abandon the US dollar in favour of its local currency, the Zimbabwean dollar.
Intratrek Zimbabwe can always count on the support of the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the OPEC Fund for International Development (Ofid) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).