DPT’S TANGANDA SOLAR POWER PROJECT

THE INSPIRATION FOR DPA (DISTRIBUTED POWER AFRICA) STARTED IN AROUND 2011 TO PROVIDE BACKUP POWER FOR ECONET’S COMMUNICATION TOWERS REDUCING THEIR DEPENDENCE ON ZESA OR GENERATOR POWER SUPPLIES.

PARTICULARLY FOR THEIR TOWERS IN MORE REMOTE AREAS DIESEL POWERED GENERATORS WERE EXPENSIVE TO RUN AND CREATED A HOST OF LOGISTICAL CHALLENGES. THEY BEGAN CREATING SOLAR POWERED SOLUTIONS FOR IN-HOUSE APPLICATIONS – ECONET OFFICES IN GRANITESIDE, MSASA AND WILLOWVALE AS WELL AS THE ECONET OPERATIONS IN HARARE, BULAWAYO AND MUTARE.

In around 2017 DPA was formerly incorporated and they started supplying power solutions for residential and commercial clients. DPA has recently rebranded, in November 2021, to DPT (Distributed Power Technologies). DPT is a part of Econet Global Group which has since been restructured to become Cassava Technologies, also the holding company for Liquid Technologies, Africa Data Centres, Vaya Technologies and others. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is a sister company. Cassava Technologies is Africa’s fifirst fully integrated technology company which stretches across the continent with operations and activities in more than 15 countries. Cassava Technologies’ business incorporates digital services and infrastructure, fifibre broadband networks, data centres, and renewable energy, as well as cloud and cyber security, fifintech, and digital platforms. Cassava Technologies’ aim is to provide a digitally connected future for the whole of Africa from major cities to more remote areas.

While DPT plays a vital role in realising Cassava Technologies’ goals by providing clean, affffordable, environmentally friendly solar power solutions to support digital connectivity, they also provide hybrid power solutions for many difffferent C&I (Commercial and Industrial) applications – like the Ratelshoek project, an estate which is part of the Tanganda

Tea Company. DPT operates across the region with special focus on projects in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. They have also successfully completed solar power projects in Ivory Coast, Burundi and DRC. Just a few of DPT’s recent key projects in Zimbabwe include installations for the Surrey Group in Marondera, Schweppes – Willowvale and Beitbridge Juicing Plant, Luxaflflor Roses Farm in Mazoe and UNESCO HQ in Harare.

Recent regional projects include Nanyuki Cottage Hospital in Mt Kenya Region, and Makro South Africa. DPT’s focus is on engineering, procurement and construction of hybrid solar solutions to power businesses. They design, develop and construct projects from 50kW to 5MW working with local construction teams to build and deploy the systems. DPT has a sister company, Ugesi, that focuses on retail solar for smaller, mostly residential, projects and they will be introducing an “energy as a service” financing scheme this year.

DPT offers flexible finance schemes which include a Power Lease Financing plan whereby they raise the finance through investors, and offer a 15 year payment model on a fifixed monthly rate with an option to purchase or renew at the end of the lease agreement.

There’s no initial deposit and DPT continues to monitor and maintain the project for the lease period at no additional cost. Many people consider the initial cost of solar power to be a deterrent but this option makes solar power a more attractive and affffordable solution. The second option is for customers to purchase the installation upfront and own the assets outright, while DPT will continue to offffer a regular maintenance service.

According to their website www.dpaafrica. com, “The company guarantees its customers zero technical risk, by employing the best technologies available. DPT takes full responsibility for funding, engineering, procurement, installation, monitoring, maintenance and warranties”. Apart from DPT’s comprehensive energy management service they also provide remote monitoring and reactive maintenance of customer power equipment. DPT monitors all installations real-time and you can monitor your energy use on your own digital devices

In around 2017 DPA was formerly incorporated and they started supplying power solutions for residential and commercial clients. DPA has recently rebranded, in November 2021, to DPT (Distributed Power Technologies). DPT is a part of Econet Global Group which has since been restructured to become Cassava Technologies, also the holding company for Liquid Technologies, Africa Data Centres, Vaya Technologies and others. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is a sister company. Cassava Technologies is Africa’s first fully integrated technology company which stretches across the continent with operations and activities in more than 15 countries. Cassava Technologies’ business incorporates digital services and infrastructure, fibre broadband networks, data centres, and renewable energy, as well as cloud and cyber security, fintech, and digital platforms. Cassava Technologies’ aim is to provide a digitally connected future for the whole of Africa from major cities to more remote areas.

While DPT plays a vital role in realising Cassava Technologies’ goals by providing clean, affordable, environmentally friendly solar power solutions to support digital connectivity, they also provide hybrid power solutions for many different C&I (Commercial and Industrial) applications – like the Ratelshoek project, an estate which is part of the Tanganda Tea Company. DPT operates across the region with special focus on projects in South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. They have also successfully completed solar power projects in Ivory Coast, Burundi and DRC. Just a few of DPT’s recent key projects in Zimbabwe include installations for the Surrey Group in Marondera, Schweppes – Willowvale and Beitbridge Juicing Plant, Luxaflflor Roses Farm in Mazoe and UNESCO HQ in Harare.

Recent regional projects include Nanyuki Cottage Hospital in Mt Kenya Region, and Makro South Africa. DPT’s focus is on engineering, procurement and construction of hybrid solar solutions to power businesses. They design, develop and construct projects from 50kW to 5MW working with local construction teams to build and deploy the systems. DPT has a sister company, Ugesi, that focuses on retail solar for smaller, mostly residential, projects and they will be introducing an “energy as a service” fifinancing scheme this year.

DPT offffers flflexible fifinance schemes which include a Power Lease Financing plan whereby they raise the fifinance through investors, and offffer a 15 year payment model on a fifixed monthly rate with an option to purchase or renew at the end of the lease agreement. There’s no initial deposit and DPT continues to monitor and maintain the project for the lease period at no additional cost. Many people consider the initial cost of solar power to be a deterrent but this option makes solar power a more attractive and affffordable solution. The second option is for customers to purchase the installation upfront and own the assets outright, while DPT will continue to offffer a regular maintenance service.

According to their website www.dpaafrica. com, “The company guarantees its customers zero technical risk, by employing the best technologies available. DPT takes full responsibility for funding, engineering, procurement, installation, monitoring, maintenance and warranties”. Apart from DPT’s comprehensive energy management service they also provide remote monitoring and reactive maintenance of customer power equipment. DPT monitors all installations real-time and you can monitor your energy use on your own digital devices.

DPT has a technology partnership agreement with world leading French company EDF (Électicité De France) to jointly develop C&I hybrid energy solutions in selected African markets. EDF are a shareholder in the Kenya operation. DPT also has a partnership with the renowned clean energy company Tesla to supply and install Tesla Powerwall for DPT customers in telecoms and commercial businesses. They have installed Tesla Powerwall for Econet Wireless Zimbabwe base stations. DPT’s choice of technology is top tier from manufacturers including Canadian Solar, SunPower, Huawei, SMA, Schneider,

Tesla and Blue Nova. This allows DPT to extend warranties up to 25 years to their suppliers. DPT offffers a variety of solar solutions: Grid Tied – solar power when sunlight is available; Grid Tied with Storage – solar energy is stored in batteries to be used when sunlight is not available; Blended Systems which integrate solar, batteries and generators to ensure 100% power availability 24/7 with seamless switch over between the power sources.

On construction of solar projects DPT works with Construction Partners with large workforces who regularly train solar installers. DPT has expertise in project engineering and solutions design and has dedicated operations and maintenance teams to support all their installations. They also work closely with small scale IPP (Independent Power Producers) developers with ‘ready to construct’ projects.

Although DPT’s current focus is on solar power there are plans to expand into other areas of alternative power supply. DPT CEO Africa, Norman Moyo has recently stated, “Our core technology of choice remains solar PV plus lithium battery technology, however we are expanding our generation technologies to include, wind and hydro energy to ensure that we deliver renewable energy efficiently.”

Tanganda Tea Company recently commissioned DPT to install a 1.8 MW ground mounted hybrid power solution with PV (photo-voltaic) and diesel generator. Work on the project started in Jan 2020 and it was commissioned in 19 October 2020. At the time it was completed it was the largest PV plant built for self-consumption in the C&I sector in Zimbabwe. Tanganda has gone on to commission two more solar power systems for other estates.

Tanganda decided to invest in solar power for a number of reasons. The ZESA power supply in the area is notoriously unreliable which was causing major disruptions and delays in their productivity. Tanganda previously relied solely on diesel generators during periods where the grid power was down which was becoming prohibitively expensive. They’ve since reported substantial savings on diesel costs during power cuts. They have increased crop security through having consistent power for irrigation and they also utilise the power for manufacturing and packaging with less down time. Power from the system is also fed into the local villages helping to improve their lifestyle. Tanganda also took into consideration the environmental benefifits of solar power.

There’s a signifificant reduction in the use of non-renewable fossil fuels and hence less air pollution and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Less trees in the area are being cut down for cooking and heating helping to preserve the environment. These are important factors especially in these times of climate change and global warming!

DPT continues to provide 6 monthly check ups inspecting the wiring and switch gear and ensuring the continued smooth operating of the system. Daily maintenance, carried out by Tanganda, includes visual inspections – washing the panels when required to remove any accumulated dirt and debris and planting lawn around the site to lower the ambient temperature and reduce the dust which can settle on the panels. Tanganda also has a 24 hour operator on site to manually attend and override any technical problems should they arise.

Commenting on how they see the future of solar and alternative power in Zimbabwe, Africa and across the world, DPT said, “Future focus will be more on smart grids, distributed systems, and energyeffif fifficiency. The generic vision is to create a virtual electron economy in which extra power from a building can be used up by another building within cabling radius through an intelligent meter, … which is referred to as wheeling between solar plants. Policy and regulation are already starting to support this, as seen in South Africa.” Looking to the future DPT has installed Electric Vehicle Charging across Zimbabwe, with three charging stations already installed in Msasa, Harare and others planned across Zimbabwe.

To contact DPT:

Visit: Smatsatsa Office Park 1st Floor, Block B,

Borrowdale Road, Borrowdale, Harare.

Call: 0771222698

Email: enquiries@dpaafrcica.com

Website: www.dpaafrica.com


text by Michael Nott

photos supplied by DPT


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