Council Mulls Constructing Solar Plant At Pelandaba Cemetery
21 November 2021
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By A Correspondent- The Bulawayo City Council is working on establishing solar farms within their water pumping stations which will help solve the problem of power outages which have forced the local authority to introduce a 72-hour water shedding schedule.

The local authority last week increased its water shedding schedule from 48 hours a week to 72 hours as the power outages continued to affect water pumping in the city. According to the Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, the power outages resulted in subsequently subdued abstraction and pumping.

Speaking to Sunday News the Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said council has submitted a number of solar generation projects to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) which will see the power outage problem being resolved in the city. He said the aim was to have the solar farms also feeding into the national grid.

“When we came into office, if you recall, we advertised for those with free funds to take up solar generating projects in and around the city. We were earmarking some of those to be within our water treatment sites. The expressions of interest showed that we got an overwhelming response.

We forwarded those investments to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency for approval as per norm in terms of investments for projects of that magnitude, so we are still waiting for confirmation whether those projects meet the test in terms of requirements for such kind of investments,” said Clr Mguni.

He said if the city could get a few of the projects approved it will be able to generate electricity within Bulawayo hence being able to consume part of that electricity that will be produced and also feed into the national grid.

Clr Mguni further bemoaned the high levels of daily water consumption by the city, noting that this was also contributing to the strained supplies being experienced in the city.

“Consumption has also been high of late because of the high temperatures, the heat that we are facing. Where we are supposed to consume an average of 140 mega litres per day, the consumption is shooting to between 160 and 180 mega litres a day, which is quite difficult to contain and manage.

“Further the Tuli catchment area, whose reservoir supplies most of Eastern suburbs, is giving us a lot of problems in terms of balancing the rate of consumption. We suspect that individuals are doing a lot of agriculture activities at their homes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the local authority has submitted a partnership proposal to Zida that will see a solar plant being constructed at the Pelandaba Cemetery.

The project was also presented to delegates at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland early this month as a profitable and innovative project by a public sector partner, with win-win benefits for the private sector, residents and the environment.

According to a council confidential report, the project will be spearheaded by the local authority together with Scottish company, Chitendai Limited.

“Management had since received an expression of interest from Chitendai Limited to develop and build a solar plant at Pelandaba Cemetery in the city of Bulawayo, with the intention of supplying clean, reliable and more affordable electricity to the regional utility companies.

The project will create employment and improve the economy of Bulawayo. If allocated the area, Chitendai Limited will undertake feasibility studies at their own cost.

They were also aware and acknowledge that if the results of the feasibility study show that the site was not suitable for solar installations their costs were irrecoverable,” reads the report.

The local authority noted that if successful, the initiative would invite other project investors to participate in similar projects and would draw lot of global attention to the city.