It is estimated that Zimbabwe’s local economy has lost more than US$1.5 billion since the beginning of May 2019 owing to extended power cuts, sometimes lasting as long as 18 hours a day.
The daily ‘peak power demand’ in Zimbabwe is 1 800 MW, yet less than 1 000 MW is generated from local sources. The government has set a target of getting at least 1 575 MW of power from solar by 2030, yet this does not appear to be viable.
Eskom, South Africa’s power supplier, did provide some relief in the middle of August, yet this was conditional, as Eskom will only assist Zimbabwe if South Africa itself is not experiencing load shedding. Since South Africa too faces power supply issues, surplus power supply is available during off-peak hours only.
Is solar the solution to load shedding?
Both Zimbabwe and South Africa urgently need to turn to alternative sources of renewable energy before it is too late, and SegenSolar believes solar power is the answer.
With more than 3 000 hours of sunlight each year in Zimbabwe, the country has the potential to produce 10 000 GWh of electricity through solar power. Unfortunately, Zimbabweans are reluctant to make this switch owing to lack of public awareness and general lack of financial or technical support from the government.
In addition, the renewable energy industry does not have a good reputation in the country. People who choose to invest in products are often met with fake equipment as product quality is largely unmonitored. The population has encountered products with no warranty and equipment that is neither durable nor user-friendly.
A lack of accredited technicians may also be holding back solar adoption, as inadequate training has resulted in the installation of temporary and potentially dangerous PV systems nationwide. Therefore, getting Zimbabweans to trust the solar industry remains a challenge.
SegenSolar offers certified, reliable and high-quality products from a broad range of reputable manufacturers and wishes to change the population’s perception of the solar industry. Solar has the potential to alter energy consumption in Zimbabwe and take households and small businesses off the grid — allowing for much-needed energy independence.