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The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) last Wednesday said it is formulating guidelines to curtail the flooding of poor quality solar products into the country.

Faced with a perennial power crisis like most countries in the region, Zimbabwe has become an easy target for importers of solar products due to absence of quality restrictions on imports.

Solar products are in demand in the country where load shedding is now a permanent feature for both households and industry as power utility Zesa Holdings is failing to meet demand which is almost double production.

But players in the solar industry said at a meeting with the energy regulator lack of knowledge on the part consumers had resulted in many buying poor quality products which are flooding the market.

Zera official Engineer Sam Zaranyika told the players that the regulator, together with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe, was drafting new regulations to guide solar product imports.

“We are working on standards (on solar products) in liaison with the Standards Association,” Zaranyika said.

“Once these are done, they will be put into use in terms of regulating imports,” he added without giving time frames.

Meanwhile, Zera said independent power producers were free to negotiate tariffs with independent buyers while dismissing assertions that the regulator prescribed prices.

Some analysts have cited low tariffs as blocking investment in the country’s power generation sector.

But the authority’s technical director Engineer Misheck Siyakatshana said Zera only negotiated prices for electricity that will be sold to the public through the national grid.

“There is nobody who is prevented from selling electricity at the price which they want,” he said.

“If you set up a plant today, you can sell power at whatever price (to independent buyers) but if you are selling to the ZETDC which has captive customers who are not able to negotiate the price, we negotiate the price for them.’

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, is a subsidiary of power utility Zesa Holdings. – New Ziana

Source : The Herald