THE Energy Regulations Board (ERB) has announced that over 60 companies want to invest in Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPGs) and solar energy in a bid to help caution the current electricity deficit in the country.
ERB executive director Langiwe Lungu announced yesterday after the tour of two gas companies and one solar energy firm in Lusaka.
Ms Lungu said ERB had received over 30 applications from companies willing to invest in solar energy and also over 30 applications from companies willing to invest in LPGs.
She appealed to the public to consider switching to LPGs and solar energies as alternative sources of clean energy a compared to charcoal.
“There is need for people to switch to LPG and solar energy in the event of the countrywide massive load shedding following the poor rainfall that the country experienced in the last rainy season,” Ms Lungu said.
Ms Lungu discouraged the continued use of charcoal as an alternative source of energy as it had a devastating effect on the environment.
She said though solar energy was expensive to install, the cost was a one way off and maintenance was cheaper.
On the other hand, she said LPG was equally the best alternative to charcoal as it was clean and had no effect to the environment.
She said the ERB would engage Government to wavier duty importation of LPG to help cushion the prices of the commodity on the market which have skyrocketed due to high demand and weakening of the kwacha.
The LPG was currently being sold between K19 and K20 per kilogramme from about K13 and K14 per kilogramme.
The prices of the LPG and solar panels have gone up on the market following the increase in the exchange rate.
The three companies that were visited are AFROX, ORYX energies and Muhanya Solar Limited.
The energy companies however complained that the prices of the commodity and equipment were increasing due to the weakening of the Kwacha against the dollar.
Muhanya Solar Limited managing director Geoffrey Kaila said there was need for Government consider wooing investor to set up plants of manufacturing solar systems to help reduce the prices.
AFROX regional manager Victor Kapanda said during the tour of the plant that besides stabilising the kwacha, there was need to find alternative sources of LPG beside the traditional sources which include Indeni Refinery and South Africa.
ORYX managing director Dansel Sannigadu said his company had sufficient LPG which it imports from Mozambique and Tanzania.