DIVERSIFIED manufacturing concern, Schweppes Zimbabwe, has acquired a 25-year power generating licence that will see the company constructing and operating a one-megawatt solar plant at its factory in Harare.
In a public notice, Schweppes Zimbabwe, which produces and distributes non-carbonated beverages and tomato puree said the licence was issued by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) in July this year to facilitate power generation and supply of electricity to its operations.
“The licence will enable Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited to construct, own, operate and maintain a 1MW Schweppes Solar Plant, which will be located at 67a Woolwich Road, Southerton, Harare,” said the company.
The licence was issued in terms of Section 46 (6) of the Electricity Act (chapter 13:19). In light of the power challenges facing the country, Government has liberalised power generation to encourage new investments in the energy sector. Since 2010 to date Zera has licensed more than 70 Independent Power Producers. The projects, which are at various stages of implementation, range from hydro and renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biogas.
Some of the electricity being produced by IPPs is being fed into the national grid to complement power generation and supply by the country’s power utility, the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). Zimbabwe is experiencing acute power shortage due to lack of investment in power generation projects in recent years.
As of Friday, ZPC indicated on its website that the country was generating a total of 726MW from all its power stations with the major plant, Kariba Hydropower Station producing a meagre 388MW against an installed capacity of 1 050MW.
Subdued generation capacity at Kariba has largely been attributed to low dam levels and ZPC has announced that the plant could be decommissioned next month or in October. Zimbabwe requires about 2 200MW to meet its economic needs.