Harava Solar Park commissioning set for September this year

By Staff reporter | 16 Feb 2020 at 17:53hrs
Commissioning of the 20MW Harava Solar Park project is set for September this year with implementation of the project well on course, Invest Solar Africa chief executive Ainos Ngadya has said.

He said once complete, the US$25m project, sitting on 28ha of land in Bwoni Village, Seke Rural, will power at least 50 000 households.

Ngadya revealed this during a tour of the project by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development this morning.

"We are on track to commission the 20MW project by September this year but we are going to do it in phases. The first 5MW should be connected to the grid by May.

"The second 10MW should be on the grid by August while the final 5MW will be connected by September this year," he said.

Ngadya said efforts to complete the project earlier had been affected by delays in accessing for foreign currency for material which is all imported.

"Converting the local currency we have takes time but if we manage to expedite that process we can actually commission the whole 20MW sooner.

"Once the project is commissioned, besides the benefits of employment, it would replace almost US$5m of power imports per year over 25 years," he said

Committee chairperson and Binga South legislator Gabuza Joel Gabuza said the project will go a long way in improving power supplies in Zimbabwe.

He said Parliament would lobby government to ensure red tape stalling such projects of national importance are eliminated.

"I think if we moved in that direction as a nation, I'm sure certainly our problems are not insurmountable, sometimes tinongochema (we lament) when we have the solutions in our hands.

"The last time that we met as committee, the impression was that this thing is impossible without external funding. We will really be glad to see it being commissioned."

Energy and Power Development secretary Engineer Gloria Magombo said government will support such initiatives which are in line with the vision to make Zimbabwe a Middle-Income Economy by 2030.

"I know we have gone through challenges where the energy supply has not been to the best but as government we are working day and night to make sure these projects happen.

"When we have these solar parks coming in, we can then shut down Kariba during the day and we bring it up at night on maximum capacity," she said.

Government, last year, granted the Harava Solar Project national project status.

The solar park will have about 63 000 solar panels whose power will feed into the Dema sub-station grid through a 132kv transmission line spanning 10km from the solar park.

The solar panels were supplied by Jinko Solar, the world's biggest solar panel manufacturer, shipping 11,4 gigawatts of modules in 2018.

In line with ZESA regulations dictating that a 132kv line should not pass through homesteads as it goes to Dema Substation, Harava has relocated 11 families and constructed decent houses for them.

Harava is also contemplating to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.



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