Source: Govt crafts renewable energy policy | The Sunday Mail September 4, 2016
GOVERNMENT, through the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority, is crafting a renewable energy policy that encourages adoption and deployment of green energy.
Emphasis is on development of solar power.
Draft regulations to outlaw electricity water heaters are presently before the Attorney-General’s Office.
Zera CEO Engineer Gloria Magombo said standards for solar water geysers were being developed.
“Zera has drafted the enabling regulation to effect the policy, which is known as the Solar Water Heating Regulations, which are now at the AG’s office waiting for promulgation.
“Once the regulation has been gazetted, then the programme (of forcing new housing projects to have solar water geysers) will be implemented.
“Zera, in partnership with SAZ (Standards Association of Zimbabwe) and other key stakeholders, are also working towards developing standards for solar water geysers,” said Eng Magombo.
There are multiple regulations that have been created to cover solar energy, feed-in tariffs and independent power producers.
Statutory Instrument 147 of 2010 exempts solar equipment and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs from customs duty.
Experts say there is still scope for more investments in solar energy.
The country has an average irradiation level of 2 100 kilowatts per
square metre per year compared to 1 400kW per square metre in most of Europe.
Solar irradiation is the amount sunshine incident on a unit area.
Despite a push to embrace solar energy since the 1990s, Zimbabwe’s grid is not receiving any power from the renewable energy source.
The Energy and Power Development Ministry’s 2015 Rapid Assessment and Gap Analysis Report indicates that the country only has a solar photo-voltaic penetration rate of 18 percent on solar home systems, which the Rural Electrification Agency is promoting.
REA public relations and marketing executive Mr Johannes Nyamayedenga told The Sunday Mail Business that they had installed 427 solar mini-grids at rural schools and clinics.
“If fully exploited, solar energy can greatly reduce pressure on the grid,” said Mr Nyamayedenga.
But upfront costs of renewable energy technologies are on the high side.
Other countries in Southern Africa are diversifying their energy mix to include solar power.
Excluding small-scale solar schemes, South Africa has implemented 1 059MW of photovoltaic projects, with an additional 1 255MW under construction. Botswana has a 1,3MW solar farm near Phakalane, north of Gaborone.
Besides solar, REA is also promoting use of biogas from agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material waste and food waste, by building digesters at boarding schools and hospitals.
“They keep cattle, sheep and goats at boarding schools and they also have human waste and we use that to feed into biogas digesters. This gives the institutions capacity to manage waster.
“Most of these institutions have endured heavy fines from the Environmental Management Agency but now, the issue of waste has become history and they are also able to manage their electricity bills,” said Mr Nyamayedenga.
REA started with pilot biogas projects at Harare Hospital, Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, the Pig Industry Board and Roosevelt Girls High School in Harare, before rolling out projects nationwide.