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Net metering feeds 6 megawatts into national grid- ZERA CEO

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Net metering feeds 6 megawatts into national grid- ZERA CEO


Ellen Mlambo

MASVINGO- An excess of six megawatts is fed into the national grid through net metering. An additional eight megawatts are expected to come from clients who have made applications that are still under consideration, ZERA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edington Mazambani has said.
Mazambani said they are targeting to get at least 20 megawatts of net-metered electricity by year-end.
He said this during an interview after a ZERA-organised net metering and energy efficiency stakeholder awareness workshop held at Flamboyant, a Regency Group hotel on Wednesday last week.
The workshop was held to educate the public on the importance of net metering to address the power supply deficit gap in the country.
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.
“An excess of six megawatts is being generated and fed into the national grid. There are applications under consideration for about eight megawatts. This means that we should have at least 14 megawatts on the national grid coming from net metering,” he said.
Mazambani said his organisation recognises the country’s current electricity supply deficit.
“We recognise that we have a supply deficit in terms of electricity in the country. It has improved a bit, but we are still experiencing load shedding. After realising that there is a gap in the country, we thought complementing what our utility is already working on allows consumers to transition to pro-consuming. This also gives them an advantage of ensuring consistent energy supply and helping the country close the energy gap,” said Mazambani.
He also reiterated that the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company (ZETDC) this year is running a promotion where they provide free net meters to consumers, which was one of the inhibiting costs of the net metering concept.
He added that a study by a contracted consultant in 2016 revealed the country could save up to 300 megawatts.
“We would want to undertake an exercise as the authority to go to people whom we train in energy efficiency management and audit and quantify their initiatives and see whether we are moving towards harnessing the 300 megawatts,” he added.
ZERA Renewable Energy Engineer Tobias Mudzingwa said Harare has the highest number of clients who are net-metered. Masvingo only has the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (NatPharm) under net metering contributing 200 kilowatts. There are two applications from Masvingo under consideration.
He added that some net metered customers include Econet Wireless Msasa with a 100 KW solar system, Schweppes Zimbabwe with a 1 MW rooftop solar installation and Nat Pharm with a 200 Kw rooftop solar installation in Masvingo.
“Considering Zimbabwe has the abundant solar resource, stakeholders are encouraged to utilise north-facing rooftops for solar power voltage installations. The threshold capacity was extended from 100 kW to five MW. Accrued energy credits will be rolled over only for a period to be determined by the authority from time to time as opposed to perpetual rollover,” said Mudzingwa.
He added that power shortages experienced in the country are caused by electricity demand and limited local generation capacity and imports.

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