Econet commissions largest industrial solar plant in Zimbabwe

Staff Reporter

Diversified telecommunications group Econet Wireless commissioned a 466KW solar power plant at its Willowvale industrial complex in Harare today.

The solar plant engineered and designed by Econet group’s subsidiary, Distributed Power Africa (DPA), is the largest commercial and industrial carport and roof mount installation to be deployed in the country.Steps taken by Econet’s solar business are part of the company’s commitment towards adoption of clean and renewable energy in Zimbabwe. The 466KW grid tied solar system will operate under a 25-year Independent Power Producer (IPP) Licence, one of the few issued by the energy and power regulator in Zimbabwe for self consumption.

Under the IPP Licence, Econet Willowvale will generate and supply power for self-consumption and at peak the plant will cater for nearly 45 percent of the business’s electricity needs. Willowvale solar plant has a total of 1435 panels installed at carports and rooftop. It comes complete with a real-time power monitoring system and the plant will generate an estimated 780MWH of energy per annum. It is one of a dozen completed DPA solar projects in Zimbabwe, with more at the project planning stages.

Speaking at the commissioning of the plant, Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Group CEO Mr Douglas Mboweni said the installation demonstrated the company’s commitment to the adoption of clean and reliable energy.

“Our organisation launched a Green campaign in 2018 which has seen the company investing in alternative renewable energies, starting with six of our own business premises,The commissioning of our Willowvale solar power plant demonstrates our focus to ensure that all our offices nationwide transition to clean and reliable energy as rapidly as possible” he said

The group’s OmniContact centre in Graniteside was the first solar plant installed, followed by their local head office in Msasa, and the company’s commercial offices in Livingstone Avenue in Harare last year.

Econet Bulawayo offices have also gone Green, The Chief executive expressed that plans were at an advanced stage to extend the project to all Econet’s major offices countrywide, including Mutare, Gweru and Masvingo, as the group work towards its contributions to global de-carbonisation of the energy sector.

DPA, which currently has a 100MW pipeline for deployment across a number of sectors within Zimbabwe, will this year complete sizeable projects for customers in the manufacturing, hospitality and education sectors.

Speaking at the same event, DPA Zimbabwe CEO Mr Divyajeet Mahajan said the adoption of clean solar energy was on the rise in Zimbabwe.

“With new technology, increased expertise and our viable financing solutions, the adoption of solar energy has increased significantly, and as Zimbabwe is gearing itself towards global competitiveness energy remains a critical pillar in our economic transformation. In the global agenda, Zimbabwe seeks to achieve a 33% reduction in emissions by 2030 and the Willowvale installation will result in a marked reduction of its carbon footprint, by 285,000 kg per annum,” said Mr Mahajan.

To date DPA has successfully installed close to 20 solar systems regionally, including a 216,200 KWh per annum solar plant for the largest data centre facility in East Africa built in Nairobi, Kenya.

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