The people of Zimbabwe have reached a stage where they want to see real change on the ground and there is need to generate policies that generate millions of jobs which will bring about real transformation, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Hon. Elton Mangoma has said.
The minister who is also the MDC Deputy Treasurer General said this while commissioning the pilot public solar water heating project at the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT).
The Pilot Public Solar Water Heating Project funded by the Government of the Republic of South Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
Two systems have been installed under this pilot phase, at HIT and the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) with storage capacity of 15 000 and 13 000 litres respectively.
"Zimbabwe is blessed in that it lies in one of the best solar radiation belts in the world, averaging at 2,100 kilowatt hours per square metre per year and 3,000 hours, equivalent to 300 days of sunshine per year," said Hon. Mangoma.
"However, this resource is currently underutilised," he said.
"Zimbabweans all across the country have a sad story to tell about the power shortages they experience every day in their homes, schools and in the factories. It is a setback that has affected the major hospitals and colleges in Harare and Bulawayo to clinics and health centres in Chendambuya and Mutoko; from schools in Filabusi to the everyday power consumers in Mutare and Victoria Falls," said Hon. Mangoma.
The solar energy can be harnessed on a standalone basis for water pumping, powering tower and street lights, traffic lights, solar lamps and water heating in homes and institutions. There is high need for solar energy and systems in Zimbabwe.
"This pilot project is to show that solar energy can be used to replace grid electricity to heat water. The electricity saved from solar water heating is directed to other sectors of the economy. I call upon the private sector to invest in the exploitation of the solar technology as well as maximising the use of this natural and renewable resource," said Hon. Mangoma
"The many young disgruntled unemployed youths will therefore find a source of livelihood which will help uplift the lives of their families," he said.
He said the commissioning of the solar heaters was coming at the best time to show the people of Zimbabwe that government is aware of the energy plight.
"Guided by our forward looking National Energy Policy (NEP) we will discharge our national duty and bring about this key enabler of our vision of a $100 billion economy by 2040," he said.
"Energy is the key enabler for the creation and promotion of millions of jobs which will ensure that this visional growth is shared by all at the same time preserving our environment for future generations. We do not inherit the land from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children," said Minister Mangoma.
He challenged potential suppliers and users of the solar water heater technology from the solar companies, manufacturing, commercial, hospitality and tourism industries to invest in this technology, for together we will be able to make it work and derive maximum benefits from this god given resource.
The commissioning was attended by the Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to Zimbabwe, Mr. Kwang Chul-Lew and senior government officials.