Zimbabwe solar product imports to soar in 2024

Nyasha Chasakara

Zimbabwe, a country rich in natural resources and potential, is poised for significant growth in its solar energy sector. As the country grapples with power challenges exacerbated by prolonged dry seasons and frequent power cuts, the need for reliable and sustainable energy solutions has never been greater. This presents a golden opportunity for investors to tap into the burgeoning solar market. Zimbabwe imports most of its Solar panels from China, India and South Africa.

Current Energy Landscape and Challenges

Zimbabwe’s energy landscape is characterized by a significant reliance on thermal and hydro power sources which account for most of the power used in the country. However, over the past two years, hydropower generation has been inconsistent due to prolonged dry seasons, with thermal power production increasing to compensate for the hydro losses. In June 2019, power cuts extended up to 18 hours per day, highlighting the urgent need for alternative energy sources.

Like many nations in the Southern African region, Zimbabwe continues to endure power shortages, with 2020 figures showing an available generation capacity of 1,585 megawatts (MW) against a peak demand of 1,900 MW. That demand has risen to over 2200 MW now with the deficit swinging widely from 400 to 600 MW. This shortfall can result in daily power outages lasting 12 to 14 hours. There are efforts to increase thermal power output and this saw the addition of  600 MW to the Hwange power station in 2023.

Installing home systems like these can accelerate electrification in Zimbabwe.

The installed capacity remains inadequate to meet demand, leading to persistent rolling blackouts that hinder economic growth and competitiveness. Independent power producers (IPPs) add around 45 to 50MW which is still very low. To meet its target of 100% electricity coverage by 2040, Zimbabwe needs to add 537,000 connections annually according to the World Bank. Everyone agrees that going solar will be the fastest route towards meeting these ambitious goals.

Import Dynamics and China’s Role

China is set to hold over 80% of global solar manufacturing capacity from 2023-26. China plays a pivotal role in the global solar module market, and Zimbabwe is well-positioned to benefit from this dynamic. In 2023, China’s solar module exports saw significant increases across various regions, with Asia and Africa being major recipients. Notably, exports to Africa have shown a steady increase, reflecting a growing market demand.

China’s solar module capacity exports by region highlight the dominance of Asia (48%) and Europe (23%), with Africa accounting for a substantial 14%. This indicates a strong supply chain and availability of solar modules to meet Zimbabwe’s growing energy needs.

Future Outlook and Investment Potential

Zimbabwe has ambitious electrification targets, aiming for 90% universal electrification by 2030 and 100% by 2040. Achieving these goals will require substantial investment in solar energy infrastructure. The government’s favorable policies, coupled with the rising adoption of solar technologies, create a promising environment for investors.

Investing in Zimbabwe’s solar sector not only promises significant returns but also contributes to sustainable development and improved quality of life for millions of people. As the demand for clean and reliable energy continues to rise, now is the time for forward-thinking investors to make their mark in Zimbabwe’s solar market.

Conclusion

The potential for growth in Zimbabwe’s solar industry is immense. Statistics on how many solar panels, inverters and batteries have been imported are very difficult to get hold of. With a supportive regulatory framework, increasing demand for off-grid solutions, and a reliable supply of solar modules from China, the stage is set for transformative investments. Solarpro is at the forefront of increasing renewable energy adoption through innovative rent to buy solar scheme.

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