Wednesday 18 October 2017


Three major solar projects are hanging in the balance on the back of acute funding challenges, a junior minister said.

Energy deputy minister Tsitsi Muzenda last week told the Senate that the $202 million Gwanda Solar Project, Munyati and Bulawayo-located Insunkamini project were all in need of funding for them to take off and help the country plug its power deficit.

“Most of our solar projects have been having challenges in that people bid, they are given permission to do whatever they are supposed to do, but at times those people would not be having (financial) resources.

“There is Gwanda, Munyati and the other one, all those projects were supposed to be on course by now but funding has been our greatest problem.

“You are aware that most of what is supposed to be used, the solar panels and so forth are imported so the capital outlay is quite massive,” Muzenda said.

While businessman Wicknell Chivayo’s Intratrek has been linked to the Gwanda project, it is yet to take off.

“With the Gwanda one, the challenge has been that the people who were supposed to finance that later were not happy with the local partner so they have had to change whatever they had agreed to.

“We are hoping that very soon the Gwanda one will be on course,” she said.

This comes as the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) earlier this year announced it would avail additional funding for solar energy projects in Zimbabwe.

AECF Fund Consultant, Oliver Bowler, is on record saying funding would be made available to existing Zimbabwean solar energy projects aimed at solar businesses so that they can scale-up to profitable levels.

The organisation has already made a $10 million commitment towards solar energy projects in four African countries including Zimbabwe this year.

“The funding will be used to scale businesses so that they can reach more customers and improve people’s lives in rural areas.

“Because we will do this in several investments to many companies we will therefore create a wider market which is investment-ready.

“This will make investors feel safe and comfortable in committing their fund for a financial and social return in the solar household system market,” he said then.

Bowler said the fund will provide grants from $250 000 to $1,5 million for the development of different solar projects.

“These will be invested into businesses so that they can grow and develop their business models to be more profitable and make a greater impact for socio-economic and gender factors,” Bowler said. Daily News



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