THE embassy of Switzerland in Harare has commissioned a massive solar system in a bid to meet its energy needs at their offices and residences in a development which sets the pace for other economic players in Zimbabwe.
In a statement Thursday, the Swiss embassy said the latest development is in line with the Swiss government to become a zero carbon emission country.
Speaking at the occasion to officially launch the solar system, the Swiss ambassador Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, Niculin Jäger described the development as a step towards sustainability.
“We are proud to have one of the largest solar installation by a Swiss Embassy in the region. Solar power is a key part of our “sustainable embassies” program and further proof of Switzerland’s global commitment to environmental protection. I hope this project will inspire many others.”
“Zimbabwe is a good place to invest in solar energy. The climate and regulatory framework is conducive and the Government of Zimbabwe rightly recognises that the future of energy is renewable,” added Ambassador Jäger, pointing out: “It is great that this is now also triggering a lot of private sector interest in solar power generation” he said.
The move comes at a time when the country has suffered climatic shocks resulting in the Kariba Dam water levels reducing to levels forcing the power authority to avail electricity for just eight hours a day at the peak of load shedding last year.
However, while the situation has significantly improved, the cost of electricity in Zimbabwe has spiraled beyond the reach of many forcing both companies and individuals to prioritise renewable energy.
Swiss embassy said the power produced from the mono crystal solar panels will be used to run all the power needs at the Embassy and residences, with solar power providing 100 percent of the electric power required in full-capacity operation.
The delegation said a first phase of the installation of high efficiency solar panels at the Embassy was first made in 2010 and was already then part of Switzerland’s commitment to clean energy.
Added the embassy, “There were three key reasons why the embassy opted for a solar power system in Zimbabwe. Firstly, Zimbabwe receives abundant sunshine, averaging more than six hours a day. The second reason is the rising price of electricity generation in the region.
“Due to climate change and prolonged periods of drought, water shortages are on the rise, and therefore less hydroelectric power is being produced and many Embassies still rely on diesel generators. Thirdly, the solar power generated by the Embassy itself is more ecological than the electricity from the grid, as the public electricity mix is generated only partly from renewable energy sources.”