Solar Power Lights Up Rural Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s Leading Daily Newspaper

by Motoni Olodun

More than 100 families in a remote village in Zimbabwe have benefited from a solar power project that has improved their living standards and opened up new opportunities. The project, which was launched in 2020 by a local non-governmental organization, SolarAid, has installed solar panels and batteries in the homes of the villagers, providing them with clean and reliable electricity.

The villagers, who live in Chikomba district, about 200 kilometers south of the capital, Harare, used to rely on candles, kerosene lamps, and firewood for lighting and cooking. These sources of energy were not only expensive and inefficient, but also harmful to the environment and health. The lack of electricity also limited the villagers’ access to information, education, and health services.

The solar power project has transformed the lives of the villagers in many ways. They can now enjoy brighter and safer lighting at night, charge their mobile phones and radios, watch television, and use electric appliances. They can also study, work, and socialize longer after dark. The project has also created jobs and income for some of the villagers, who have become solar entrepreneurs, selling and repairing solar products and services.

One of the beneficiaries of the project is Tendai Moyo, a 35-year-old farmer and father of four. He said that the solar power has made a big difference in his family’s life. “Before, we used to spend a lot of money on candles and kerosene, which were not enough to light our house. We also had to walk long distances to charge our phones at a nearby town. Now, we have solar power in our house, which is cheaper and more convenient. We can also watch TV and listen to the radio, which keeps us informed and entertained,” he said.

Moyo added that the solar power has also boosted his farming activities. He said that he can now use a solar pump to irrigate his crops, which has increased his yield and income. He said that he plans to expand his farm and grow more vegetables and fruits, which he can sell at the local market. He said that he hopes to improve his family’s nutrition and education with the extra money.

The solar power project is part of a larger initiative by SolarAid to bring renewable energy to rural communities in Africa. The organization, which operates in six countries, including Zimbabwe, has distributed over two million solar lights and installed over 4,000 solar home systems, reaching over 10 million people. The organization’s mission is to combat poverty and climate change by providing access to clean and affordable energy.

The project has also received support from the government and the private sector. The Ministry of Energy and Power Development has endorsed the project and provided technical assistance and regulatory guidance. The project has also partnered with a local bank, CBZ Bank, which has offered loans and savings products to the solar entrepreneurs and customers.

The solar power project is expected to expand to more villages in Zimbabwe and beyond, bringing light and hope to millions of people who live without electricity. The project is also expected to contribute to the country’s efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, especially those related to energy, poverty, health, education, and climate action.


Source: The Herald

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