The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Business Reporter
THE Government will soon introduce a policy compelling owners of newly-constructed buildings to fit solar water geysers on rooftops as it moves to regulate electricity consumption from the national grid.
In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy, Magma Mudyiwa, at the official opening of the Water, Sanitation, Energy and Industry (Washen) Conference at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo last Thursday, Energy and Power Development Minister, Advocate Fortune Chasi said the Government was disappointed at the low rate at which homeowners and businesses were installing solar water geysers at their premises.
“As Government, we are not satisfied with statistics that only 4 646 solar geysers have been installed in the country during the period from January to August 2019. Solar water heating regulations have been approved and a Statutory Instrument (SI) will be gazetted to ensure that all new buildings are fitted with solar water heaters. This will help manage electricity demand during peak hours,” said Minister Chasi.
In December 2017, the Government said it was mulling a ban on electrical geysers due to their power consumption. The country has 140 000 electrical geysers and a ban on these would save at least 280 megawatts of electricity. He said the Government was making concerted efforts to expand the green energy sector in the country with a number of projects being at various stages of implementation.
“The ministry seeks to increase the share on renewable energy sources in the energy supply mix. Government has facilitated development of new renewable energy projects through Independent Power Producers (IPPs) such as Centra-Grid solar project in Nyabira, Harava solar project in Seke, and Tsanga A, B and C mini hydro-power plant as well as the Mutoko solar plant. We should think towards a lasting solution to our energy problems which can be solved with all our efforts collaborated together,” said Minister Chasi.
Speaking at the same occasion Zesa Holdings acting group chief executive officer Engineer Patrick Chivaura revealed that the parastatal was only in a position to contribute about 6 000 megawatts (MW) of the country’s targeted 11 500 (MW) by 2030.
“We are targeting a middle-income society by the year 2030 which will require 11 500MW to be established in Zimbabwe and that cannot be done by Zesa alone. Zesa at its best will be able to produce around 6 000 MW by that time. So, it means there is room for other players to fill up the gap. As Zesa we will support all the initiatives that will come from private players.” he said.
Climate Change Management Department project co-ordinator in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Mr Tirivanhu Muhwati said owing to the effects of climate change the southern parts of Africa was likely to receive low rainfall in the near future thus the need for the country to invest more in solar energy.
“We are looking at future predictions of climate change and our rainfall is expected to decrease by 20 percent for western and southern parts of the country as well as five to 15 percent for the northern parts. Reduced rainfalls in the southern African region will result in low power generation at the Kariba hydro-power plant as we go into the 2050s and a solution to this is to minimise our dependency on Kariba hydro-power plant and invest more into other forms of renewable energy,” he said.