Harare urged to adopt use of renewable energy on new buildings
By Farai Dauramanzi
Harare is under pressure to adopt the use of solar energy to alleviate the electricity power shortages that has affected the City for many years now.
While addressing the 1839th Full Council meeting that was held on Tuesday 10 November 2014, Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said that council would consider enforcing a regulation for all new buildings to have a solar energy component in its power consumption.
“There are strong lobbyists who are insisting that council should now consider more aggressively the use of renewable solar energy and make it a pre-condition for any building plans to have a significant solar energy component in its power consumption. I urge council to consider that,” said Mayor Manyenyeni.
Most high rise buildings in the City rely on elevators which are greatly affected by power cuts and the use of solar energy is believed to be a logical solution to the power blackouts.
The use of solar power which is abundant in this part of the world has been hyped by many stakeholders in the energy sector as a solution to the country’s electricity shortages. Environmental protectors also encourage the use of solar energy as it provides a clean and renewable energy which is not harmful to the environment.
Solar energy can also be used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. Other countries such as Germany and Japan have adopted subsidy programs and green pricing policies of utilities or electricity service providers a move which has stimulated demand.
However, Harare seems in no rush to harness the use of solar energy due to the many solar energy projects that have been left hanging and incomplete. In 2010 City of Harare started installing solar traffic lights and by November 2013, only 18 units had been installed. Earlier this year, council also announced that they were courting investors to install solar street lights in the City however, the solar street lights deal has not materialised up to now.
The government has also made efforts to address the electricity shortages through giving out licenses for the creation of solar fields to power communities however, this has not yet materialised due to shortage of funds to kick start the projects.