By SILUMESI MALUMO
SOUTHERN Power Energy Limited, a Zambian-owned company has been in the pipeline to put up solar plants with capacity of 600 megawatts but it has been delayed because Zesco has not approved the completion of feasibility studies on the Grid.
The company claims it is now five years since it started engaging Zesco but the power company has been looking elsewhere each time they have been approached.
The Chief Executive Officer, Edward Simukonda, said once the company is operational, between 250 and 300 direct and indirect jobs will be created as well as contribute to the country’s GDP.
Mr Simukonda said the company which has been in the pipeline for years now, is expected to put up 600 megawatts in three districts.
In an interview yesterday, he said the company is expected to put up solar plants in Zimba, Mpika and Mporokoso and that they have secured funding of over $800 million for operations and is only waiting for Zesco to start.
Mr Simukonda said the feasibility studies were concluded but the company cannot put up the plants in the three districts when Zesco has not given a go-ahead to use the transmission lines.
He said the only hope is to see that Zesco gives a go-ahead for the works to start.
He said the company has been in talks with some neighbouring countries that are interested in the power and some local companies.
It will be a modern type of system like the USA is using, where there is no need to worry about weather conditions or time of day as the system will be a 24-hour operation with adequate backup systems, the first of its kind in Zambia.
“We have been pushing for some time now, this has clocked close to five years and Zesco has kept us knocking, and yet the country is crying for power.
Mr Simukonda said this development will be for the betterment of the nation.