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Scenes at the ground breaking ceremony - Image Credit: ZBC

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PPC Zimbabwe breaks ground on US$40 million solar power plant

Construction for the solar PV plants is expected to take around 18 months.

PPC Zimbabwe, the subsidiary of South African cement manufacturing giant, Pretoria Portland Cement Limited (PPC Ltd.), has officially commenced construction on two solar energy plants with a combined energy output of 30 megawatts (MW) to power its Zimbabwe operations.

The cement manufacturer held the groundbreaking ceremony for the solar projects in Bulawayo last week, which was attended by Zimbabwe’s Industry and Commerce Minister, Sekai Nzenza. 

At its Bulawayo plant, PPC Zimbabwe will set up a 10 MW solar energy plant, of which 5MW is earmarked for internal use, with the excess fed to Zimbabwe’s national grid.

At the Colleen Bawn plant in Matabeleland South – PPC Zimbabwe’s main cement manufacturing plant, the company will develop a 20 MW solar energy facility, where about 12 MW of the electricity capacity will be used internally, and the excess fed to the country’s grid.

Construction for the solar PV plants is expected to take around 18 months.

Contributing to Zimbabwe’s renewable energy targets

According to Zimbabwe’s state owned weekly newspaper, Sunday News, PPC Zimbabwe appointed Zimbabwean company, Centrawest, and China’s Sinohydro to implement the projects. The Centrawest-Sinohydro consortium to operate the solar farms for a period of 20 years. 

“The IPP will build, own and operate the solar facilities. A power Purchase Agreement (PPA) has been signed between PPC and the IPP for a 20-year term thereafter the assets will be transferred to PPC,” said Dr Marvellas Sibanda, PPC Zimbabwe head of supply chain and strategic projects.

PPC Zimbabwe hopes the two projects will help contribute to Zimbabwe’s renewable energy targets. The landlocked country targets to have 26.5 percent of total electricity supply to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Commenting at the ground breaking ceremony, Sekai Nzenza, Zimbabwe’s Industry and Commerce Minister said she challenges “other companies and industries to put in place deliberate measures and targets to boost the consumption of renewable energy towards a thriving economy that positively impacts on the environment and a clean energy future.”

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