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Zimbabwe looks to build three large Solar Farms to solve its energy crisis

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3 Solar Farms in Zimbabwe

African countries have been aggressively looking to build solar power capacity to solve their large energy deficit. South Africa had kick-started the process with very successful renewable energy auctions and other countries such as Ghana have continued the process. Chinese solar panel producers have been aggressively looking to expand into the “dark continent” through cheap vendor financing, provided by the large Chinese state owned banks. The falling costs of solar power has made it a viable option for many countries and Africa has the chance to provide electricity to millions of people who do not have access to the grid.

Solar energy can not only supply power to the grid but is also the most feasible off grid option. Micro grids for villages have become the rage in recent times, with most big solar companies such as SunEdision (SUNE), First Solar (FSLR) etc. building pilots in India to gain a first mover advantage in this new growth area. Solar energy generation is not expensive these days, especially in high solar radiation areas in Africa. Land is also not expensive, making the building of giant solar farms feasible in Africa.

The challenge faced by the African countries is to get resources for the capital intensive solar farms. Solar energy costs are mostly upfront in nature as they don’t require fuel like fossil fuel power plants. Spending an estimate $500 -750 million for 300 MW of solar plants is beyond the capabilities of the Zimbabwe’s government which does not have adequate funding resources.

However, one feasible solution could be that large financial institutions such as ADB and World Bank fund the projects and get their investment back over time through electricity sales. They could involve a project implementer such as SunEdison to operate and manage the collection of revenue. Zimbabwe like other energy deficient places is seeing massive economic losses due to chronic electricity shortfalls. Both agriculture and industry is being adversely affected as hydro power in unreliable, due to drought issues during summer months. Having a diversified energy mix is extremely important to prevent energy crises from occurring in these countries.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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