Three hospitals in the Matabeleland region will be benefited from solar power plants. A consortium of local independent power producers (IPPs) in Zimbabwe and German partners will be implementing this project.
The project is led by Enduring Sun Energy, Geobase Clean Energy, and German solar technology provider, Frenell. The health facilities that will be benefited from solar energy are Manama Mission Hospital, Maphisa District Hospital, both in Matabeleland South province, and Tsholotsho District Hospital in Matabeleland North province.
The construction work for a 2.5 MW solar PV plant has already started in Manama at a cost of US$4.5 million. The solar plant will be fitted with German-made panels embedded with the ability to access wifi from the satellite and are expected to have a minimum lifespan of 30 years. The plant will power Manama Mission Hospital, nearby schools, a business center, and other institutions.
Gibson Nyathi, Executive Director of Enduring Sun Energy, said the energy demand capacity in Manama showed the need for 1.75 MW of electricity, but they oversized the plant to 2.5 MW. This is because there are many consumers in Manama who have idle electricity boxes that are not functional due to lack of power. Once there is a proper power supply, the electricity demand will increase.
Recently, the Minister of State in the Office of Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, Sibangumuzi Khumalo, who is also the Tsholotsho North legislator, visited Tsholotsho District Hospital, along with Tsholotsho South legislator, Cde Musa Ncube, and Enduring Sun Energy officials, and toured nearby pieces of land in preparation for the solar plant facility.
A feasibility study for the location of the Tsholotsho solar plant will be done soon. The plant is expected to have an initial capacity of 3MW, which is likely to be expanded after the completion of its power deeds assessment exercise. The plant will take about nine months to complete from the date of commencement of its construction. The focus will then shift to Maphisa after construction work starts in Tsholotsho.
The solar project is in line with Zimbabwe’s economic blueprint, the National Development Strategy (NDS1). The investments that are being made in the Matabeleland region on solar energy are the key steps toward mitigating electricity shortage, especially in hospitals, as well as reducing the impact of climate change.