from WELLINGTON TONI in Harare
HARARE  – AT a time when the outbreak of Covid-19 has derailed many projects, Meikles Limited-owned Tanganda Tea Estates is forging ahead with its intended 7.55MW solar project.

Tanganda is situated in the Chipinge district and is made up of six estates, specialising in producing and packaging tea and coffee both for the domestic and foreign markets.

In addition, it also exports macadamia and avocado.

The group said: “Tanganda is progressing on the installation of solar power. The lockdown has caused some delay, but 72 percent of the project consisting of 5.4MW will be completed within the next six months while the balance of 2.15MW will be completed thereafter.”

The giant tea estates company had previously seen its operations affected by the acute shortage of electricity especially before the coronavirus imposed restrictions.

This was mainly due to low power generation at Kariba Dam due to low water levels, refurbishment at Hwange Thermal Power Station and failure to clear debts with South Africa power utility Eskom.

The Eskom debt has been cleared and power supplies have improved significantly since the start of April when the lockdown was first imposed with more electricity now available to households.

But consistent droughts in the SADC region have seen a number of companies, and other countries in the region, turning to solar power to keep their industries running.

The Government has opened tenders for 500MW of solar power that are expected to feed into the national grid. The tenders opened on June 1.

– CAJ News