Zambia: Rea to Light Up Mpanta

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SOLAR energy is free although there is a cost in the building of collectors and other equipment required to convert the energy into electricity.

Active solar energy on the other hand is science and technology driven wherein we capture the heat from the sun and reuse it at a time.

Energy security and independence along with climate change have become among the top issues in Zambia.

There is broad consensus a country cannot rely indefinitely on hydro power sources and other sources of energy like renewable energy and solar needs to be developed to meet the growing power requirements.

The Government through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has started developing other sources of energy that will cushion the current power deficit in the country.

REA is implementing a solar project in Mpanta area of Samfya Luapula Province, the first of its kind in the history of Zambia.

The Mpanta solar mini grid is being implemented with the financial support from United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) with the total project cost of KR7 million.

REA board chairperson Jorry Mwenechanya said that the project was designed to generate 60KW of electrical power from an array photovoltaic module that will supply the Mpanta community within the catchment area of 1.5 kilometres.

The solar mini grid is a pilot project designed to supply the community using a centralised system.

Zambia has historically been dependent on hydro power and the demand for the commodity has continued to grow.

A comprehensive response to boost power supply is needed to sustain economic growth rates of the country.

Professor Mwenechanya said the power to be generated by an assembly of arrays of PV modules would be transmitted by a single phase over head lines, adding that each household would pay a subsided tariff.

He said the power to be generated by an assembly of arrays of PV modules would be transmitted by single phase over-head lines using 10m wood poles.

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