Shot in arm for IPPs

09 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Nokutenda Chiyangwa

The Zimbabwe Regulatory Authority (ZERA) will this year operationalise the net metering system, which allows private and independent power producers (IPPs) to supply excess power to the national grid.

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits IPPs for the electricity they supply to the grid.

It also allows them to draw from the grid if they generate inadequate power for their own consumption.

Statutory Instrument (SI) 86 of 2018 provides the legal framework through which the process can be implemented.

Zera acting chief executive officer Mr Eddington Mazambani told The Sunday Mail that challenges in connecting power producers to the grid caused interminable delays in implementing the project last year.

“Once people put up rooftop solar panels that are connected to the ZESA (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority) grid, during the day, when the panels are producing more than they can consume, that power is put into the grid, and when they are not producing enough, they can then draw from the grid,” said Mr Mazambani. Power producers who opt for the system, he said, would essentially bank their power into the national grid.

However, ZESA would retain a nominal amount of power from the banked units.

This year, ZERA plans to embark on countrywide roadshows to both publicise and promote the net metering system.

The regulatory body also plans to engage financial institutions to create packages that make it easier to purchase solar equipment.

Mr Mazambani said: “We are also going to engage financial institutions so they can come up with packages for solar installations, because we feel that when people are capacitated in terms of financial stability, then they can install the solar which is then going to be connected to the grid.”

Currently, the huge cost of installing solar at households is considered prohibitive.

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