Southpole Consulting announces plans for independent solar plant

28 September 2018

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.

Cameroon seeks consulting support for electricity distribution project

10 April 2019

The Government of Cameroon is on the lookout for consultants to support with the development of the Master Plan Production Transport Distribution of Electricity. The selected consultancy will be expected to conduct a study regarding the evacuation of power facilities in the country.

The result of the proposed study will be an initial design, followed by a more detailed blueprint, in addition to the final tender paperwork. The Master Plan Production Transport Distribution of Electricity is one of several developmental projects taking place across Africa to improve the region’s infrastructure scenario.

Specifically, the project looks to develop a more comprehensive network of transportation to and from power generation facilities, not only to enhance the capacity within these plants but also to expand the scope of distribution to the more remote areas of the country. The project also involves the development of two solar power plants.Cameroon seeks consulting support for electricity distribution project

This is another trend that is common across a number of African markets. Given that the latest wave of infrastructure development on the continent is coinciding with a global trend towards sustainable energy, most African countries are integrating renewable sources such as wind and solar within their energy generation systems.

Tcholiré and Kousséri are the two cities to be endowed with solar power plants, The candidates for consulting partners of the project are expected to have considerable global experience in the domains of power distribution and managing renewable energy generation projects.

Overall, the new plan is being designed to cover the gaps in the previous Electricity Sector Development Plan that was formed in 2014. The earlier plan failed to address a number of distribution issues around major generation centres, while the new plan is being designed to ensure efficient distribution.

As a result, the requirements for the new plan include detailed assessments of voltage and capacity of electricity plants, and the capacity of their associated distribution systems. The new plan is also, in similar vein, expected to have detailed guidelines on optimum transportation networks to and from the generation facilities.