Editor's Comment

Solar-powered filling stations way to go

THE launch of the first solar-powered fuel filling station by Total Zambia Limited in Lusaka is a milestone in the country’s quest to reduce dependence on hydro power.
The launch of the solar-powered filling station in Avondale has demonstrated the desire by the private sector to supplement Government’s efforts in promoting alternative sources of energy.
The solar-powered filling station, the first in the country comes following calls by President Edgar Lungu for all stakeholders to get involved in adapting and mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.
The project is a testimony of Total Zambia’s commitment to contributing to renewable energy development in the country.
In his speech to the fourth session of the 12th National Assembly on September 13 this year, President Lungu acknowledged the adverse impacts of climate change on the country’s economy.
It is therefore pleasing that multinationals like Total Zambia have responded in the affirmative by launching a solarised service.
This is a great innovation by Total, which has decided to look outside the box by embracing renewable energy as a response to the current load-shedding the country is experiencing.
Instead of complaining about lack of power affecting its business, Total has gone for environmentally friendly energy solutions to beat load-shedding.
This is what other companies – state-owned and private, including non-governmental organisations – are supposed to do.
People and corporates have been waiting for inspirations. Total Zambia has led the way in supporting government policy.
Through the solar-powered filling station, Total Zambia is also helping Government in dealing with the negative impact of climate change.
Total Zambia’s innovation means that solar fuel filling stations will be open to business amidst load-shedding in the area.
Unless industries and households stop being perpetually dependent on Zesco, the country’s socio-economic situation will worsen.
Adaptation and mitigation is the way to go if the country is to overcome the current load-shedding caused by reduced generation capacity.
It is not a secret that hydro-power generation capacity has reduced by about 700 megawatts, which has led to Zesco implementing load management.
Consequences of load shedding are there for all to see as citizens, including micro, small and medium-scale enterprises which are finding it hard to cope and, in some cases, have had to shut down operations altogether.
There has also been a drastic reduction in agricultural production resulting in increased food insecurity in the country as well as decreased surface and underground water levels, which has caused stress to human, animal and plant life, among others.
The negative effects of climate change have contributed to slowing down the economic growth rate from an average of seven percent between 2005 and 2014 to an average of three percent between 2015 and 2019.
Other corporates will do well to emulate Total by switching to solar and remain in business. Among other businesses, shopping malls are best suited to embrace solar energy because of their business model.
They can mount huge solar panels above their rooftops and become energy self-sufficient.
Beyond being energy self-sufficient and reducing dependence on Zesco, corporates can take advantage of government-launched renewable energy feed-in tariff strategy, an initiative aimed at accelerating private investments in small- and medium-sized renewable energy projects, to increase the number of players in the electricity sub-sector and, ultimately, increase access to clean energy services.
With the revision of the Energy Policy of 2008, tariffs will become attractive and contributing power to the national grid will soon become a money-spinner for all those who will care to invest in renewable energy.

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