Zimbabwe to Launch Automated Solar Collector Factory

A joint venture with South Korea to produce clean and affordable energy

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe is set to establish a robotic manufacturing plant that will produce solar collectors and provide fossil-free heat, replacing the 1,400 megawatts of electricity currently generated by coal-fired power plants. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2024, is a joint venture between the Zimbabwean government and a South Korean company, Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR).

Solar collectors are devices that capture and concentrate sunlight to produce heat, which can then be used for various purposes, such as heating water, cooking, drying, or generating electricity. They are different from solar panels, which directly convert sunlight into electricity. Solar collectors are more efficient and cost-effective than solar panels, especially in areas with abundant sunshine and low cloud cover.

According to the Zimbabwean Minister of Energy and Power Development, Zhemu Soda, the plant will be the first of its kind in Africa and will create thousands of jobs and boost the country’s economy. He said that the plant will use advanced robotic technology to produce high-quality solar collectors that can withstand harsh weather conditions and last for decades. He added that the plant will also export solar collectors to other African countries and beyond.

The project is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and achieve its renewable energy targets. Zimbabwe has committed to reducing its emissions by 33% by 2030, compared to the 2010 levels, under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The country also aims to increase its renewable energy share to 50% by 2030, up from the current 19%.

The project is also in line with the global trend of shifting to clean and sustainable energy sources, as the world faces the challenges of climate change, energy security, and rising energy costs. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), solar energy is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the world, with an annual growth rate of 22% between 2010 and 2019. IRENA estimates that solar energy could provide more than a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2050 if the current policies and investments are scaled up.

The Zimbabwean solar collector plant is expected to be a game-changer for the country, which has been struggling with chronic power shortages and frequent blackouts for years. The plant will not only provide clean and affordable energy for the domestic market but also enhance the country’s competitiveness and innovation in the global green economy. The plant will also demonstrate the potential of solar energy to transform the lives of millions of people in Zimbabwe and beyond, by providing them with access to reliable and sustainable energy services.

Source: Daily News Zimbabwe


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