China Energy proposes US$1billion floating solar farm on Kariba


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China Energy Engineering Group proposed building a 1 000-megawatt floating solar farm for Zimbabwe, a nearly US$1 billion project, on the world’s largest man-made lake.

More than 1.8 million photovoltaic panels installed over 146 modular floating units would be used for the project on Lake Kariba if it went ahead, according to an official report that was prepared for the state’s power utility and potential private equity funders by the company. The civil engineering works would cost US$186 million and installation US$801 million, according to China Energy.

Zimbabwe is facing an acute electricity shortages that have resulted in blackouts lasting about 12 hours a day, because low water levels have stifled generation from a hydropower plant on Lake Kariba. The problem has been exacerbated by frequent breakdowns at the Hwange thermal power station.

China Energy has installed floating panels on China’s Dingzhuang River and in Thailand, it said in the presentation. Interest in such installations, which avoid competition for land and have the potential to reduce evaporation from reservoirs, have increased in recent years, according to the International Energy Agency. 

The Kariba report was prepared for Zimbabwe Power Co., CDF Trust Ltd., Energy China Ltd., and the Intensive Energy Users Group, which comprises mining companies and other big electricity consumers. It envisions mining operations eventually tapping power from the project, which would help the country reduce its carbon emissions. – Bloomberg

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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