130MW solar power plant for Matobo

PLANS are underway to establish a 130MW solar power plant in Matobo District, Matabeleland South Province, as Zimbabwe continues to attract investor interest in the energy sector.

According to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), a foreign investor, SunOne (Pvt) Limited, has made an application seeking to set up the giant solar plant in Matobo.

The successful implementation of the project is expected to boost domestic energy production and enhance Zimbabwe’s shift towards green energy solutions in line with global climate change mitigation strategies.

Government has already positioned the country to promote green energy solutions under the broader national vision of having Independent Power Producers (IPPs) adding 2 000 megawatts to the national grid by 2030.

“Notice is hereby issued in terms of Section 4(3) of the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations, 2008 published in Statutory Instrument 103 of 2008 that the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has received an application from SunOne (Private) Limited to construct, own, operate and maintain a 130MW Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant in Matobo, Matabeleland South Province. SunOne (Private) Limited intends selling the power generated from the power plant to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) based on a power purchase agreement,” reads a public notice from Zera. 

“The project will be connected to the grid through the construction of Matobo 220/33kV substation complete with the associated line bays and the establishment of a green field 220/33kV SunOne Matobo Solar Power Plant substation equipped with 1x 150MVA transformers.”

The licence application by SunOne (Private) Limited was done in terms of the provisions of Sections 42 and 46 of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13: 19) of 2002, said the regulator.

Commenting further, Zera communications officer Mrs Lindiwe Nyoni said the giant solar project would be the third such proposal in the country, after the company pitched the 70MW plant in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central and the 100MW Manhize plant in Masvingo province.

“We have 125 IPPs currently on our register of which 44 are operational, with 15 feeding into the grid with a total capacity of 47.76 MW while the other 29 are for own consumption and captive power with a total installed capacity of 168.5008MW,” said Mrs Nyoni.

In April this year, a private firm, Siyavuma Incorporated (Private) Limited, announced that it was setting up a US$60 million, 50-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant at Cyrene Farm, also in Matabeleland South, which would see the creation of 300 jobs.

The consistent and sustainable provision of energy is a key determinant to the well-being of any economy and electricity is the major source of energy used not only in business and industrial processes.

The electricity supply industry (ESI) is dominated by Government-owned power entities, namely the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).

ZPC operates and manages four power stations; Hwange, Munyati, Bulawayo and Kariba, while ZETDC carries out the system/network operator function, operates the transmission and distribution networks and conducts trade regionally through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).

Zera regulates any person or private companies that operate an electricity undertaking which generates, transmits, distributes, or retail electricity for commercial purposes in excess of 100 kilowatts (kW).

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