The government of Zimbabwe says is interested in boosting the local production of solar panels and move away from importing panels from abroad.
The country has spent a lot of money in the energy sector, paying for the importation of electricity and funding solar projects. Officially opening the 2018 Zimbabwe International Business Conference in Bulawayo yesterday, Vice President Retired General Constantino Chiwenga said that the country has enough resources to ensure that solar panels are produced locally.
“On renewable energy it must be known that there’s no duty on solar panels. But we want solar panels to be produced internally. We have all the resources,” said VP Chiwenga.
The government has been looking at alternative energy sources, with the Chinese firm, CHiNT Electric having recently committed a $52 million advance payment demand guarantee for the 100 megawatts Gwanda solar farm, as it seeks to unlock funding needed to develop the project.
VP Chiwenga said the country can draw inspiration from South Korea that, at some point in time, rejected the importation of color TVs in the country because they believed they were a status symbol and would undermine efforts to create a more “austere” environment.
It’s not just the government looking at alternative energy sources, Econet recently obtained a license to power to meet the electricity and energy needs at its Willowvale premises in Harare.
Renewable sources of energy have the added benefit of saving the country foreign currency, with Econet’s DPA Solar Project set to save the country millions of dollars in foreign exchange on electricity power imports and on the costs of the importation of diesel generators and diesel fuel
The Vice President emphasized the need for the government to develop several sectors of the economy including ICT.
“The government is also mobilising resources for upgrading infrastructure in the ICT, health and educational sectors. In order to sustain our development agenda, government is committed to maintain credible and consistent policies,” said Chiwenga.