INCESSANT power outages have pushed Greendale residents in Ward 9 to explore the possibility of pooling their money to import solar power systems for their homes.
Greendale residents have been complaining about perennial electricity faults in the area such that even before the current load shedding, brought about by depressed electricity generation at Kariba Power Station due to the low water levels in the dam, they were constantly enduring numerous power outages.
The situation has worsened with the problems at Kariba Power Station and residents have decided to address their plight.
The residents want to take advantage of importing lithium batteries, solar panels and inverters in bulk and buying direct from manufacturers.
Solar panels and inverters are customs duty free and importers pay 15 percent VAT while batteries are levied 20 percent customs duty and 15 percent VAT.
Discussing the electricity challenges on the residents’ social media platforms this week, the property owners said they are investigating the feasibility of a special project to import quality lithium batteries, solar panels and inverters from China for between 500 and 1000 households in Ward 9 (Greendale, Mandara, Manresa and surrounding areas).
Residents have since been asked to express their willingness to be part of the project before a steering committee is established to push the plan.
Suggestions have also been made to make use of the Greendale Residents and Ratepayers Association (GRRA) which represents residents of Ward 9.
Residents have welcomed the idea with a number of them expressing their willingness to be part of the initiative while others indicated they would be ready to go for the project if the quality of the solar systems to be imported is good.
Most residents described the idea as brilliant as those behind the idea explained how they intended to go about it.
Suggestions were also made to make use of one of the community leaders in Greendale, Mr Brian Shenje, to handle the project in a centralised way.
Mr Shenje has been pushing for the repair of traffic lights in Ward 9 working with the City of Harare and power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company’s (ZETDC) engineers.
Mr Shenje said as a community leader he was compelled to find out what the problem was and how the problem could be fixed.
He went to council and the ZETDC offices where he pushed and demanded answers.
He has also been leading a campaign to stop illegal dumping in the ward under which residents of Greendale have adopted the naming and shaming of those caught dumping garbage.
Ward 9 residents are convinced the initiative could serve as a pilot community project for Zimbabwe with the possibility of replicating it elsewhere.
The residents suggested the steering committee should be made up of people with the know-how of solar systems if they were available and those who are conversant with electrical (electronics) engineering, procurement, public finance, and trade and project management.
The Greendale residents’ initiative comes at a time Government has said there has been overwhelming interest in solar energy investments that will help ease the current power shortages.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the interest followed the guarantees Government gave to investors of power purchase agreements that will see more than 1 000 megawatts onto the national grid