Pan-African financial services group Old Mutual has announced an investment of $21.5 million in a solar power project in Zimbabwe. The funding will be provided by the Old Mutual Investment Group Zimbabwe (OMIZ) which will be utilized in scaling up the capacity of Centragrid Energy Systems Africa PV solar power plant from 2.5 MW to 25 MW.
The solar power plant is located in Nyabira in the Mashonaland West province. It is developed and operated by the independent power Producer Centragrid Private Limited since 2019. The expansion of the solar farm and its associated transmission facilities is an impact investment strategy of Old Mutual Limited and Zimbabwe’s National Social Security Authority (NSSA) that was announced in December 2021.
The Centragrid solar PV project aligns with the Zimbabwean government’s efforts in scaling up renewable energy capacity. The government has targeted to generate 16.5% of total electricity or 1,100 MW from renewables by 2025, and 26.5 % of total generation or 2,100 MW from renewables by 2030.
According to Old Mutual, the solar project offers a supply of clean, emission-free renewable energy and has an Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) green status. After completion of phase II, the Centragrid solar farm will generate more than 3,700 MWh of clean energy annually for the national grid.
The investment comes at a time when Zimbabwe faces a power deficit of around 600 MW to 700 MW, according to local media. This deficit is due to severe climate changes that lowered the dam levels at the country’s largest electricity generation station, the Kariba South Hydro Power Plant.