Government will set up a solar energy project for civil servants to use for domestic consumption as it moves to ameliorate the power supply challenges currently being faced in the country and the region.
The project, mooted way back in 2020, will be co-ordinated by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and is expected to complement ongoing efforts to boost the country’s power generation capacity.
Government has since moved to tap into the discovery of lithium in various parts of the country to make batteries that will be used in the solar energy power plant.
Addressing journalists during a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Dr Tsitsi Choruma said two years ago, the commission made a decision that all civil servants, regardless of grade, should benefit from the solar project.
“Currently, the Public Service Commission is working on finding a partner outside Zimbabwe who can support us in learning and starting production of solar ancillaries,” Dr Choruma said.
“On top of that, the commission recognises that this country has resources and we ought to be utilising the resources that we have locally in order to create this motion of doing things for ourselves, producing local and hence creating value for everybody in the public service.
“We also recognise that recently as Zimbabwe, we have discovered lithium deposits which are huge and currently these deposits are being exported and we are hoping that besides exporting we start also producing, for instance, lithium batteries that can be used to support this huge solar project that the Public Service Commission is going to embark on.”
Dr Choruma said the commission was planning the project in such a way that it would be properly financed to benefit everyone.
“As we continue, we will update you on the initiatives that the Public Service Commission will be doing,” she said.
Zimbabwe is ramping up the production of clean energy by investing heavily in solar power and to a lesser extent hydro power, as part of a Government strategy to reduce energy-related emissions by about a third by the end of 2030.
Efforts to reduce load shedding considerably are bearing fruit with Zimbabwe soon to get up to 500MW of electricity from Zambia and Mozambique, while Hwange Power Station’s Unit 7 should be feeding 300MW into the grid before month-end.
Zesa Holdings executive chairman Dr Sydney Gata said owing to low water levels at Lake Kariba and aged thermal power stations, the small ones with equipment now 72-years-old and even Hwange more than 34-years-old, Zimbabwe was battling massive electricity outages, with some people saying they only have power between 10pm to 5am.
However, electricity outages are not peculiar to Zimbabwe as large parts of the region, including powerhouse South Africa, contend with load shedding stretching up to 10 hours per day in some cases.