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PPC Zimbabwe Invests US$40 Million in Solar Projects for its Manufacturing Plants

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The Zimbabwean subsidiary of South African cement manufacturing giant Pretoria Portland Cement Limited (PPC Ltd.) is going to invest US$40 million in solar energy development for its manufacturing plants. The future solar facilities will be developed in the company’s plants at Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn, both located in Matabeleland province.

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The planned solar projects are expected to generate a total power of 30 MW, out of which 17 MW will be utilized for internal consumption and the rest 13 MW will be fed into the national grid. The solar energy facility in the Bulawayo plant will have the capacity of 10 MW, where 5 MW is designated for internal consumption, while the Colleen Bawn plant will get a 20 MW solar plant, where 12 MW will be used internally.

The solar plant at the Bulawayo milling facility will be equipped with 20,000 ground-mounted solar panels and set to cover nearly 22 hectares of land. The Colleen Bawn factory’s solar plant will be built on a 45 hectare of land, with an 18 MWh battery storage system.

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The Industry and Commerce Minister Sekai Nzeza appreciated PPC Zimbabwe during the groundbreaking ceremony in Bulawayo for their contribution to the infrastructure development and growth of renewable projects. The minister said that PPC’s transition to solar energy supports the Government’s efforts toward mitigating climate change and enhancing the sustainability of the energy sector.

Marvellas Sibanda, Head of PPC’s supply chain and strategic projects, said the solar power plants will contribute to the country’s National Renewable Energy policy which aims to achieve 26.5% of total electricity production in the country from renewable sources by 2030. Sibanda also mentioned that PPC Zimbabwe was the country’s first company in the manufacturing market to develop large-scale solar power plants.

According to Sibanda, electricity is a major cost driver for the manufacturing plants accounting for 30% of their operational costs, as the plants consume high electricity in the production process. Power supply challenges faced by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has caused large drawbacks for the operations as well as equipment damage.

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The bidding process for the two solar plants attracted 30 local and global companies, among which a local IPP named ATC Consortium was selected. The IPP will build, own, and operate the solar plants under a 20-year term PPA with the cement company.

The solar plants will reduce PPC Ltd.’s carbon footprint in Zimbabwe and go a long way in buttressing the country’s National Development Strategy (NSD1) ideals of improving electricity supply through diversifying its energy mix by increasing independent power production.

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