Farm block solar energy project on hold

GRIDBOW Engineers says the funder of the US$30 million solar energy project in the four farm blocks awaits detailed feasibility studies to proceed.
Early this year, Government granted Gridbow Engineers, a South African firm, the rights to supply affordable solar energy to farm blocks in Zambia at a cost of US$30 million to meet the electricity demand.

The project is expected to be initially implemented in Nansanga, Luena, Manshya and Lusiwasi farm blocks.

In a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Monday, Gridbow Engineers chairman Jabu Chabata said the available information from Government is not meant for the solar energy project, which is also a first in Zambia, but is meant for other equally important uses.
Mr Chabata said funders want information such as crops to be grown in each farm block, production, cultivation methods, number and size of dams, and number of farmers per farm block, among others.
“The company is very grateful to Government for the opportunity. Our position is that the funders who are very keen to proceed with the project have requested for a lot of information.
“As a matter of fact, having worked in different countries, we must state that Zambia is being led by one of the most open and accommodating Government we have ever conducted business with,” he said.
Mr Chabata said with the information, the required loads per site can be calculated and the total amount to be invested in each farm block arrived at.
He also said the company has resolved to conduct its own feasibility studies, which will supplement the already available information, which will be submitted to the funders.
Mr Chabata said a project of this kind also takes time to kick off as there is need to establish the number of off-takers as well as calculate the required loads per farm block before construction can start.
“Government, through the office of the Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary has been very supportive and accommodating.
“The fact that Government has offered us an opportunity to invest in the farm blocks is a clear indication and demonstration of their desire to bring investments into the country and uplift lives of its people,” he said.


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