gtag('config', 'UA-12595121-1'); Zimbabwe to Pioneer Floating Solar Panels on Kariba Dam – The Zimbabwe Mail

Zimbabwe to Pioneer Floating Solar Panels on Kariba Dam

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Harare, Zimbabwe – In a groundbreaking move towards sustainable energy, Zimbabwe has announced plans to install floating solar panels on the Kariba Dam, the world’s largest man-made freshwater reservoir, by early next year.

This ambitious project, spearheaded by the Ministry of Mines and Energy Development, aims to address the nation’s pressing energy shortages and foster renewable energy sources.

Gloria Magombo, the secretary for energy and power development, unveiled the project details during a press briefing in Harare. She emphasized that the initial phase will see the installation of 150 megawatts of solar panels on the surface of the Kariba Dam.

“This is just the beginning,” Magombo stated, highlighting the project’s potential to significantly enhance Zimbabwe’s energy capacity. Furthermore, she revealed that the private sector has shown considerable interest, with applications to install an additional 600 megawatts of floating solar panels. However, she refrained from providing specific details about these applications.

The decision to pursue floating solar technology comes as Zimbabwe grapples with decreasing water levels in the Kariba Dam, which borders both Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Zambezi River Authority, citing a severe drought, has had to reduce the water allocation for hydroelectric power generation. This reduction has exacerbated power shortages, leading to frequent power cuts across the nation. In response, the government has been compelled to explore alternative energy sources to alleviate the crisis.

“Lower water levels have significantly impacted our power generation capabilities,” Magombo explained. “The floating solar panels present a viable solution to augment our energy supply without further straining our water resources.” The innovative approach of utilizing floating solar panels not only optimizes space but also helps in reducing water evaporation from the reservoir, adding an environmental benefit to the project.

Beyond the Kariba Dam, Zimbabwe’s government has ambitious plans to expand floating solar technology to other reservoirs. Magombo disclosed plans for a similar installation at the Mutirikwi Dam. She also noted a growing interest from the private sector in developing more floating solar projects, reflecting a broader commitment to renewable energy investments in the country.

The introduction of floating solar panels marks a significant milestone in Zimbabwe’s energy strategy. It aligns with global trends towards renewable energy and showcases the country’s proactive steps in combating climate change and ensuring energy security. This project not only promises to mitigate the current energy crisis but also positions Zimbabwe as a leader in innovative energy solutions on the African continent.

As the world watches, Zimbabwe’s foray into floating solar technology could serve as a model for other nations facing similar energy and environmental challenges. With the anticipated installation by early next year, the Kariba Dam project is set to be a beacon of progress and sustainability, paving the way for a greener and more resilient future for Zimbabwe.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg