Zimbabwe is continuing its journey of connecting individuals and businesses that have installed solar power projects and contributed to the national power grids. This measure has been beneficiary in filling the energy gap in the country where lingering droughts are hitting its hydro-power dams, increasing the energy shortages.
Farmers and agronomists want to expand their solar mini-grids that are used in pumping well water to fill farmlands and reservoirs. The excess power from these mini-grids is sold to the power utilities, adding extra income for the farmers.
The farmers face the challenge of the excess cost of the device connecting their solar mini-grids to the state-owned distributor, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).
Back in 2019, the cost of a grid-tied inverter for commercial farmers was $2000, which was a significant outlay on top of the about $5000 that they spent on his solar power system. The farmers face the problem of a lack of money to invest in solar-powered devices.
Now, commercial farmers are focussing on net metering projects and supplying power to the grid. The net metering system was launched in Zimbabwe in 2020 that allows private renewable energy producers to transfer their excess generated power to the national grid and in return, they get electricity credits which can be utilized in the case of insufficient renewable energy supply.
As Zimbabwe’s ageing coal plants are frequently breaking down and climate change-fuelled droughts lead to water shortages in the main dams, the government has announced a variety of measure in these responses to boost power supplies.
Zimbabwe has step up harnessing more renewable electricity from independent power projects and importing more power from neighbouring countries. Last month, the country has launched a $30 millon fund as a part UN Sustainable Development Goals initiative to support small and medium-sized firms for renewable energy projects.
Zimbabwe has recently launched an initiative to that support $1 billion worth of privately owned solar power projects. This program cover a total of 27 different solar power projects with cumulative capacity of nearly 1 GW.