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Faced with power crisis, Africa looks to renewable energy technology

Michael Malakata | July 20, 2015
African countries, driven by the need to power base stations for mobile phone operators in the face of serious power shortages, are starting to scoop up renewable energy technology.

Elsewhere in central and East Africa, several other large-scale solar energy projects are taking place, including in Rwanda and Uganda.

In Southern Africa, meanwhile, both Zambia and South Africa have turned to renewable energy, in particular solar technology, to expand the capacity of the power grid, which to a large extent relies on hydroelectric power.

Zambia's power utility company, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco), has warned that the Kariba Power Station will generate 500 megawatts instead of the normal 1050 megawatts until the next rain season in order to avoid shutting down due to low water levels.

As a result, the Zambian government has since come up with guidelines for the development of renewable energy. Zambia's deputy minister of Energy and Water Development, Charles Zulu, has said the government will by the end of the year start installing 20-megawatt solar power stations in most parts of the country.

 "Renewable energy is the only solution for us as a country. It will take us some time but we just have to develop this sector. This is the route that the government wants to take," Zulu said.

Other southern African countries are taking up the refrain. By the end of year, Mozambique is expected to approve the first large-scale solar PV projects while Namibia plans to conclude its first large-scale solar energy project.


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