Southpole Consulting announces plans for independent solar plant

28 September 2018 Authored by Consultancy.africa

Following the trend of developing energy infrastructure across Africa, Zimbabwean energy consultancy Southpole Consulting has declared its plans to construct a solar power plant at Victoria Falls, with an expected capacity of 125 megawatts. The firm has filed an authorization request for the same.

The project is reportedly being planned for the firm’s own consumption, given its desire to establish a steady power stream to its data centre and its commuter rail electrification project. In addition, the firm has designs to market surplus power regionally, for which it will leverage its location near the Zizabona inter-connector.

Southpole is also investing heavily in supplementary equipment, which includes the development of a special purpose vehicle for the project. For the entire project, the firm has already obtained approval from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority for $300 million of foreign direct investment.

Southpole Consulting announces plans for independent solar plant

These funds will not only be channeled into the vehicle, but will also be deployed towards the construction of the plant itself, alongside the road and rail infrastructure leading to and from the facility. The plant will be located within the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone (SEZ). 

Given its status as a self-consumption plant, the firm has received no monetary support from the government or from local authorities. Nevertheless, its situation in the SEZ offers the possibility of receiving tax incentives, which is the primary contributor to the high levels of FDI received. 

The firm is already quite far along in the process to begin with construction. As enumerated by Director of Special Projects at Southpole Cosulting Tendai Tidings Musasa, “We are already in talks with module and inverter providers, as well as with potential EPC contractors.”

The project comes amid a wave of solar energy development across the African continent. Ghana has recently launched a comprehensive solar energy programme, which is expected to substantially ramp up its renewable energy capacity. Other countries to have initiated similar projects include The Gambia and Kenya.

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