China will invest US$15 million to build a solar panel plant in Zimbabwe to produce 500 solar panels per day.
The Chinese firm Yaowei Technology will make the investment that is expected to significantly address the ongoing electricity shortages causes by low water levels in the Kariba Dam and obsolete equipment at the Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Crucially, the high cost of solar equipment – mainly because it is imported – has prevented citizens from harnessing solar energy.
Yaowei Technology director Mr. Cheng Hangjian told journalists in Harare that his company is in the country to seek investment opportunities especially in renewable energy to ease power shortages. For China to invest in a solar panel plant in Zimbabwe would advance this goal.
“We want to set up a solar power factory worth US$15 million in Zimbabwe. At least a one hectare piece of land is enough to set up the first phase of the project,” said Mr. Cheng.
“The plant is expected to produce at least 500 solar panels a day to augment power supply in the county and will also help in creating job opportunities for the locals.
“Currently, we are doing feasibility studies to seek more investment opportunities.”
Mr. Cheng said Zimbabwe has enough resources to turn around the fortunes of the economy, but there is need to invest in research to tap the available investment opportunities.
“Zimbabwe needs to invest in research to make use of the available opportunities be it in mining, agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism, among other sectors.
“The country boasts enough human capital which needs to be utilized for the betterment of the country’s economy,” said Mr. Cheng.
He called upon the private sector to play a leading role in the promotion of sustainable energy for the country to realize its potential
“The country has vast opportunities which are not fully utilized, hence there is need to use local resources to ease power shortages such as the use of the solar system.
“The current power outages require both the public and the private sector to play a part in addressing the challenges. We expect more players to come in supporting the communities,” he said.
Mr. Cheng said there was need for Zimbabweans to support the country’s economic policies to realise its potential and ensure it can be an economic hub for the Southern African Development Committee.