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Companies Attempt to Increase Solar Usage in Face of Power Shortages

  • Chris Gande

A consortium of business entities is trying to promote the use of renewable energy in Zimbabwe by encouraging people to use solar energy.

Transformative Communications Consultancy says the government should be spearheading the use of solar energy because the majority of people are far from the power grid yet the country experiences sunshine almost throughout the year.

However, Zimbabwe, which has been suffering from power shortages has been slow in taking up solar usage.

Zimbabwe's cellphone company’s subsidiary, Econet Solar, recently launched a solar power device intended to help light up rural areas in the country and other areas across rest of Africa which are beset by an erratic supply of electricity.

Transformative Communications Consultancy spokesperson, Useni Sibanda, said they are currently in talks with a South African company that will provide expertise and technical support for those who want to use renewable energy, especially solar energy.

"According to research that has been done by various organizations more than 75 percent of the country is off grid which means they have no access to electricity so there is a very big market of course the question has been how come that market has not been tapped."

He added that there are more than 26 companies that are marketing solar products, noting that the reason has been that there has not been much publicity about the products of solar but negative publicity has arisen because of cheap solar products.

"I think people would have a huge appetite to buy solar products if they can see that it is working, the challenge has been the cost. And one way to deal with that is to increase the market size and that would dramatically lower the prices," he said.

He said while the government in its statutes says it will not charge customs duty on solar products in reality people are being charged.

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