SOME investors from United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) have expressed interest to set up two separate solar generated power plants in Livingstone with capacity to produce 1, 000 Megawatts (MW).
The investors, who approached National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) over the matter, wants to set up solar power stations in Senior Chief Mukuni’s chiefdom and Kasiya Ward respectively.
NHCC senior conservation officer Richard Mbewe said the investors from United States were working with their partners in Lusaka to set up a 700 MW solar power plant in Kasiya Ward in Zambia’s Tourist Capital.
Mr Mbewe, who declined to name the investors, said in interview yesterday that the Kasiya plant would be located within Farm number 463.
He made the revelation after he attended a stakeholders meeting held at Livingstone Civic Centre together with University of Zambia (UNZA) students pursuing a Masters Programmes in Spatial Planning.
Mr Mbewe said the promoters of the project would soon have community sensitisation meetings with local people as technocrats had already done their assessment.
“We have been visited by group of people from Lusaka over this solar project but the proponents of this project are from United States.
“They run the largest solar power plant in Africa and they already have one in South Africa in Limpopo. They want to produce 700 MW of solar power which is reliable as we have higher sun exposure here in Livingstone,” Mr Mbewe said.
He said the plant would be put on an already cleared land where housing units for the company would be built too.
“We are very excited as NHCC as such projects will mitigate the impact of ZESCO diverting water for power generation from Zambezi River.
“The investors have visited our office because we are key stakeholders in the issues surrounding Victoria Falls and land clearing. Anyone who is going to clear land and construct a major structure is likely to alter or destroy national heritage and so we must be consulted on such matters,” Mr Mbewe said.
He also said investors from UK wanted to set up a solar power plant of 300 MW in Senior Chief Mukuni in an open area to allow more sunlight to be captured.
“For this project, it has reached an advanced stage as the area has already been identified and cleared.
“As NHCC, we have no objection as the project will also reduce the impact of ZESCO in diverting water from the Zambezi River,” he said.
Mr Mbewe said the good aspect of the solar projects was that they would be implemented within a timeframe of one year and ultimately channel more power to the national power grip to mitigate the power deficit.
“Hydropower stations are costly and they take a lot of time. Solar power stations are simply prefabs and they are already manufactured and installed on an already prepared area and put connecting panels.
“Once approved, the projects will be installed between six to eight months after which they will be tested and commissioned,” he said.