ZIMBABWE – Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), a cement manufacturer, has been selected to construct and head the operations of a 32MW PV solar power plant. The solar power plant is expected to be constructed in the Matabeleland South Province, Colleen Bawn to be specific.

The power that is produced at the site will be divided equally to provide electricity to other Pretoria Portland Cement facilities and the other half will be distributed to the Zimbabwean national electricity grid.

The plant that is expected to take a year and a half to be constructed and will be one of Zimbabwe’s larger solar power plants.

Currently, the nation is in desperate need of power generation capacity and solar offers a cheap, scalable solution. Zimbabwe had only 11 MW of installed solar capacity at the end of December 2018, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe in September issued a request for proposal seeking partners for the construction of seven solar parks with a total generation capacity of 235 MW plus two mini-hydropower plants.

That came after the minister of energy and power development Fortune Chasi had announced plans in July to move forward a 100 MW tendered PV project whose realization has been delayed for years.

The allocation of the tender for the supply of the solar by PPC came after 38 local, regional and international companies participated however PPC has chosen not to disclose the name of the company that was chosen.

The chief operating officer of the cement company, Marvellous Sibanda did mention however that the solar energy supplier is located in Zimbabwe.

No details were provided on the cost of the 32 MWp solar photovoltaic project. Pretoria Portland Cement is thus one of the companies that have decided to turn to solar energy for their electricity supply in Zimbabwe.

A few months ago, Caledonia Mining Corporation, which operates the Blanket gold mine in Matabeleland South Province, issued a call for tenders for a 19.65 MWp solar project. The future 6.55-MWp phased-in installation will supply power at its Blanket gold mine.

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