The government intends to install at least 250 000 solar geysers by 2030 in line with draft renewable energy policy which will go a long way in cutting the country’s power import bill.

Several engineers led by Institute for Sustainable Technologies directors, top government officials from the Ministry of Energy and Power Development converged in Harare for the launch of a solar thermal technology roadmap and implementation plan.

One of directors of the project, Werner Wiess said the project started in 1995 has grown up to be a Southern African programme whose main objective is expected to put Zimbabwe on the world map in solar thermal power technologies.

“This project has grown in bounds, since 1995 we worked with experts at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), NUST and now it is a regional project, but the good part of it is that it started here. The launch should see implementation which is expected to equip school, hospitals, rural communities and many other institutions with solar, we have done it at various institution but this can be a national project,” he said.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Dr Joram Gumbo said the solar thermal technology programme will support the new dispensation in uplifting the people’s standards of living.

“Our education institutions should heed the call to drive, research and development solar thermal technologies that can be manufactured locally. Solar thermal power will play a pivotal role to achieve vision 2030 of making the country an upper middle class economy,” said Dr Gumbo.

“With the support of banks and other corporates, this programme may help the government install at least 250 000 solar geysers by 2030 and cut import power bill,” added Minister Gumbo.

The Southern African solar thermal training is run with SADC countries comprising Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia.