By Thembelani Moyo 2 Minute read
Venice Mine has hired Equator Energy to install a solar power in response to Zimbabwe’s power shortages.
The plant, after its completion, will generate 0.5MW of electricity. Johannes Hundermark, the mine’s general manager, said Venice Mine will continue using power supplied by the power utility, ZESA. The mine also has standby diesel generators as backup.
“Equator Energy installed a solar diesel hybrid plant at Venice Mine in Kadoma. This plant has a capacity to generate 0.5MW. The solar plant will complement power supplied from the national electricity grid and back-up generators,” said Hundermark.
Venice Mine says the solar plant will go a long way in easing the mine’s power challenges. The new investment, however, is too small to satisfy Venice Mine’s the electricity needs.
“The solar system does not produce more power than the mine can consume. It will only supply at least 25% of the daily consumption.
“The solar field has 1,600 panels. Each panel has an out put of 310W and 36,5V. Also, a single panel has a maximum power of 8.49A current. This power is fed into nine investors, which convert it into AC. The AC is then fed into the Venice Mine power supply,” said Hundermark.
Venice to save money
Once the solar plant starts working, the gold mining company says it will save money. Equator Energy will charge Venice Mine lower kilowatt-hour rates compared with those that are charged by ZESA. Operating backup diesel generators has also been costly for the mine.
“The solar plant was installed on a pay-per-use contract. This means that we only pay for the kilowatt-hour that we actually consume from the solar plant.
“The maintenance is done by the supplier. There was zero up front investment required from the mine.”
Government’s appeal to mines
In a bid to encourage the use of solar power, government has scrapped duty on all imported solar equipment. Mines have also been urged to use alternative sources of power.
“Gone are the days when government used to provide all solutions. We now call for citizens and corporate companies to take an active participation in all issues to do with the economy.
“We need more private initiatives to not only provide power for themselves and become self sustaining, but to also supply the rest of the nation with their surplus.
“I strongly believe that solar is the way to go. We are in an extraordinary situation. ‘Solarizing’ is therefore our short term solution,” said Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi.