Gridbow denies blaming government for delays in Farm block solar project

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Solar Modules
Solar Modules

Gridbow is an EPC infrastructure company based in South Africa. The
Company has been executing multiple projects on behalf of various clients in
South Africa and other African countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe,
Swaziland, Benin and Malawi . In line with its growth strategy, an international
Division was formed in January 2015 to successfully execute Engineering,
Procurement and Construction Projects, as well as affordable and
sustainable renewable energy solutions to multiple sectors including
agriculture Sector.

The Government of the Republic of Zambia has identified agriculture as one
of the engines to economic development hence the commitment to develop
agriculture as the main stay of the economy.To this effect every province is
proposed or already has at least one productive farm block. To support
Government’s efforts to diversify the economy, Gridbow Engineers hopes to
partner with Government to supply power to these farm blocks.

In January of 2017 the Government of the Republic of Zambia granted rights
to Gridbow Engineers and Technical Services Pty Limited to invest in the 10
Farm Blocks with solar energy solutions that would produce electricity for
irrigation and other productive uses in the farm blocks including provision of
lighting to homes surrounding the farm blocks , clinics and schools. The
proposal involves the provision of power from a containerized independent
Solar solution to dedicated productive establishments in the farm blcoks with
consumption of energy recorded via a metering system. Gridbow will offer its
end users installation, as well as continuous operation and maintenance
services .The end users are expected to be the farmers .

The company is working with funders who are very keen to invest in the
project. However, they have requested for a lot of risk imitigating information.
The availlable information with Government was not meant for a project of this
kind which also is a first in Zambia, but was meant for other equally
important uses, though relating to the famrblocks themselves, albeit not for
our proposed solutions. We have since resolved as a company to conduct
our own feasibilty studies with the support of Government which will
supplement the already available information and which we shall submit to
the Funders.

A project of this kind takes time to kick off as there is need to
estalish the number of off-takers as well as calculate the required loads per
farm block before construction can commence. Each farm block for example
will be growing different products which will not be entirely rain fed and will
require irrigation systems. There is need to acertain the require loads to
drive the pumps for irragation systems and so on and so fouth.

Gridbow Engineers does not at all blame Government for any delays on the
project. Infact the company is very grateful to Government for the opportunity
and we hope we can realise the vision of offering affordable and sustaible
clean energy to the farmblocks and supplement Governments efforst in
diversifying the economy.

We wish to conclude by placing on record that the Government , through the office of the Permanent Secretary , Ministry of Agriculture has been very supportive and accommodating. As a matter of fact,having worked in different countries, we must state that Zambia is being led by one of the most open and accomodating Governments we have ever conducted business with.The fact that Government has offered us an
oppotunity to invest in the farm blocks is a clear indication and demostration of their desire to bring investments into the country and uplift lives of its people.

Issued by Fatima Mweenda
Country Rep
For and on behalf of Mr. Jabu Chabata, The Chairman of Gridbow Engineers
and Technical Services Pty Limited

3 COMMENTS

    • Tenderprenuers at work! The Government should have gotten local ones instead of importing them from South Africa.

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