Financial services group, Old Mutual Zimbabwe, in partnership with Easy Power Limited, will install a ground mounted solar system with a capacity of 650kW at its Mutual Gardens property by August this year, to meet electricity requirements of the entire office complex.
The investment comes as Government is moving fast to incorporate solar into its energy mix to help ease the country's power-shortage and complement long-serving fossil fuels and hydro capacity.
In his 2020 National Budget Statement Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said Government would be offering incentives to those who invested in solar as a means to promote renewable energy use.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Mutual Gardens solar project, the general manager of the OMLAC, Rutendo Magorimbo, said the investment in solar energy will not only help in the fight against climate change, but will reduce the cost of doing business in the long run.
This will also provide tenants with reliable source of energy and an inflation hedging asset for the pension funds invested in the company. OMLAC said it will roll out similar projects on the firms' other buildings in due course.
Old Mutual Group chief executive officer, Samuel Matsekete, commented "As Old Mutual, we have challenged ourselves to find alternative ways of delivering value to our stakeholders, through innovation as required in our current environment.
"The Mutual Gardens solar project comes at the most appropriate and opportune time to shed off huge costs associated with diesel-powered generators and also push the green economy agenda which should be a stepping stone to sustaining future generations.''
Improving the burden on the national energy grid cannot be understated, and measures to address it are a must for any business. As a financial services player, Old Mutual, is also alive to the market's expectations regarding driving and harnessing investments towards the alternative energy industry.
This realisation was the compelling rationale behind the Kupinga Hydro Energy plant in Chipinge commissioned in 2017. Since inception, The Kupinga Hydro Energy plant has been contributing 1,6MW of energy into the national grid. Over the last two decades, calls for "Going Green" have been gaining momentum globally.
Today, the "Going Green" concept is now a central theme and a topical issue in most global government policymaking processes, United Nations' gatherings and other prominent global fora.
Old Mutual, said it was proud to have championed this initiative on the local property landscape through the iconic and award-winning Eastgate Mall. The Eastgate Mall building was designed by the internationally-acclaimed Pearce McCormish architects and is one of the building's most outstanding "green" features is its natural air-cooling system.
This system does away with electrical air conditioners and the unnecessary waste they create. Old Mutuals' Mutual Gardens is not the first building to adopt solar energy.
The Eastgate Market generates 100kW of electricity from solar panels incorporated in the design to power essential loads.
Investments in solar and mini hydro power plants are a welcome effort to increase power generation in a Zimbabwe, currently facing nearly two decades of electricity challenges, which have seen lengthy power outages becoming a regular occurrence.