The Sunday News
Fairness Moyana, Hwange Correspondent
COAL miner Makomo Resources through its subsidiary Southern Energy is planning to construct a 100 Megawatt solar plant in Chidobe Ward in Victoria Falls at an estimated cost of up to $180 million.
The project will be rolled out in phases with the first stage being a 50MW installation set to be completed within 18 months of commencement.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a tour of the site by officials from the company, Government and Hwange Rural District Council last week, Southern Energy consultant Mr Samson Mabvira said the development would go a long way in reducing power imports from the region while providing cleaner and cheaper energy into the national grid.
“We intend to put up a solar power farm starting with 50MW then the second phase will bring in another 50. We are in the process of looking for land and clearance from authorities to set it up so this is the reason for this tour, we are soliciting support from councillors.
“The actual cost is not yet available, however, we expect it to cost between $120-$180 million,” said Mr Mabvira.
He said the company was also taking advantage of the new political dispensation by investing in the energy sector and once they got the green light they would hit the ground running.
“We want to invest in that energy sector and the new dispensation makes it an opportune time to do so, we want to take advantage of that. We have got the capital and skills and we chose solar because in comparison to the other sources of energy it is cleaner. So we are saying that we are ready to move in, remember the nation requires energy,” he said.
The solar plant will feed into the national grid via a 33kv line which is close to the site, bringing relief to the national energy demand.
Mr Mabvira said the project would also create employment for locals though he could not specify the numbers.
Southern Energy is also in the process of constructing a coal fired 660MW power station close to Makomo Mine at a cost of $3 billion which will also feed into the national grid.
The tour was attended by Hwange District Administrator, Mr Simon Muleya, HRDC chairperson Councillor Sipiwe Mapfuwa, chief executive officer, Mr Phindile Ncube and other councillors.