China Energy to build $1 billion floating solar plant in Zimbabwe


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Inspenet, April 11, 2023

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

According to an official report prepared by the company for the state power company and potential private equity investors, seen by Bloomberg, the project would take place on Lake Kariba with more than 1.8 million photovoltaic panels installed in 146 floating modular units. . The civil works would cost 186 million dollars and the installation 801 million, according to China Energy.

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Zimbabwe is facing a severe electricity shortage that has caused blackouts for about 12 hours a day as low water levels have stifled generation from a hydroelectric power station on Lake Kariba. The problem has been aggravated by frequent failures at the Hwange thermal power plant.

China Energy has installed floating panels on China’s Dingzhuang River and in Thailand, according to the report. Interest in these types of facilities, which avoid competition for land and have the potential to reduce evaporation from reservoirs, has increased in recent years, according to the International Energy Agency.

The Kariba report was produced for Zimbabwe Power Co., CDF Trust Ltd., Energy China Ltd. and the Intensive Energy Users Group, which brings together mining companies and other large electricity consumers. It is expected that mining operations will end up taking advantage of the energy from the project, which would help the country reduce its carbon emissions.

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