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.
Diesel and Petrol generators were the first wave of power backup solutions that were employed by Zimbabweans in the mid to late 2000s. Later solar became a viable alternative. Its qualities of being low maintenance, quiet and clean are what awarded its popularity, and has been the preferred choice of alternative power since the advent of the 2010s.
Under the theme, ‘Catalyzing Investment into Renewable Energy for the Acceleration of the Attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in Zimbabwe’, Zimbabwe has launched a Renewable Energy Fund that is expected to unlock over $30 million, which will be directed towards renewable energy projects in the southern African country.
The power shortages that the country and the region is facing should save as a reality check for businesses and households to start investing in solar energy as a long term solution. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu urged businesses, particularly the small ones, and households that are using generators.
The Zimbabwean government has embarked on an ambitious programme to get all government workers on to solar power, reducing their reliance on the national grid. The programme will see government workers being provided with “solar equipment” at their homes as part of a basket of non-monetary benefits for civil servants.
The dream of development from below or rural areas died when the country went on full-throttle capitalism ideology in the 1990s when the government adopted the so-called Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP). Zimbabwe’s ESAP grew out of a particular interpretation of the Zimbabwean economy’s performance.
He said on the home front, he had a solar system, and the batteries were meant to last for five years, but he had had his system in for about three years, but because of constant load shedding, the batteries had given in.
Zimbabweans are feeling the effects of low water levels in reservoirs that are the main source of electricity on a more frequent basis now. There is an urgent need to add new electricity generation capacity in Zimbabwe. Distributed renewable generation projects such as solar coupled with battery storage could help alleviate some pressure.
Learners in rural and marginalised areas continue to benefit from the national e-learning strategy for schools approved last year to ensure that all schools have practical internet access so the education system can cope with disruption such as disease outbreaks and natural disasters.