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Zimbabwe wants lithium miners operating in the country to work towards producing battery-grade lithium locally and could impose a tax on exports of lithium concentrate in future. The southern African country holds significant reserves of lithium, a battery mineral which is vital to the global drive towards cleaner energy technologies.
The off-road three-wheelers are being offered by Mobility for Africa (MFA), a company registered in Mauritius and operating in Zimbabwe. It provides environmentally sustainable mobility services to rural communities, particularly women. The e-tricycle is a custom-built electric tricycle powered by swappable solar-charged battery packs.
The off-grid solar company Zonful Energy has powered over 30,000 homes and currently has a subsidiary business in Mozambique as part of its regional expansion strategy. Zonful has experienced substantial growth, creating 70 direct jobs and more than 2,000 indirect jobs. Its solar products have provided energy to over 30,000 households.
In 2019, a social enterprise called Mobility for Africa (MFA) launched the pilot of their e-tricycle scheme, targeting Zimbabwean women in business with the sustainably-powered, and robust utility vehicles. A group of pregnant women from Igava approached the company for help building an affordable off-grid transport solution.
The crisis, researchers say, has highlighted the growing threat that an increasingly dry and erratic climate poses to African nations that rely on hydropower. In Zimbabwe, it is prompting the government and researchers to step up the search for more dependable energy supplies for the nation’s 16 million people.
Nedbank Zimbabwe says it has seen increased demand for solar financing and renewable energy initiatives by corporates in Zimbabwe in order to counter power challenges. “We subscribe to demands that banks finance solar installations in key sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and other large players in the market,” she said.
The solar for health project is an inter-ministerial collaboration with the energy sector, ICTs, health and development partners. Through its rural electrification programme, the Ministry of Energy partnered with the Ministry of Health in identifying hard-to-reach and un-serviced health centres.
Listed tea processing giant, Tanganda Tea Company has invested a total US$8 million in solar projects in a development that will cut off electricity costs for the company. The development comes on the back of critical power outages which in some cases are running for between 16 to 20 hours per day adversely affecting business productivity timelines
So far, 117 householders and businesses with solar power are selling their surplus to Zesa Holdings as net metering is being speeded up, allowing those generating renewable energy to sell when they have surplus and buy when they need power from ZETDC, usually at night.
With load shedding being experienced in Zimbabwe, keeping vaccines at the required cold temperatures at some of Zimbabwe’s clinics can be a menace for health workers. Chikanga Polyclinic uses power from solar energy stored in lithium batteries as a backup when there is load shedding or a power outage from the national grid.

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