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ISSUE 65(FREE READ)

Distributed Power Africa… …offering solutions to crippling power shortages

DISTRIBUTED POWER AFRICA (DPA) is a dedicated renewable energy business within the Econet Group of companies. The Group, under the banner Econet Global, also owns Econet Wireless, Liquid Telecom, Steward Bank, Cassava Smartech and the philanthropic organisation Higherlife Foundation.

Econet Wireless was formed in 1993 by Strive Masiyiwa and was finally awarded a licence to operate in 1998. Since then Econet has continued to thrive and grow in Zimbabwe and has moved into Africa as Econet Global.

The founding principle of the Econet Group is that Africa can realise its true potential through investment and development based on three main pillars;

– Communications (keeping everybody, everywhere in touch through telecommunications and internet access),

– Technology (offering simple and secure mobile smart technology solutions and both financial and on demand services for all from multi-national companies to individuals in remote areas) and

– Power (providing affordable and reliable energy for the residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, educational and health sectors.) Their philosophy is that power can be supplied to everyone from remote rural areas to bustling city centres in line with sustainable, eco-friendly values. Ugesi Energy is a DPA project aimed at creating mini solar grids in isolated rural areas to encourage and support local businesses, schools and clinics. DPA then began creating solar powered solutions for in-house applications

– Econet offices in Graniteside, Msasa and Willowvale as well as the Econet operations in Livingstone Ave in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.

In around 2017 they began supplying power solutions for residential and commercial clients and recently DPA entered into a partnership agreement with EDF (Électicité De France) a world leading electricity company, to increase the deployment of commercial and industrial energy solutions across the African market. To date DPA has signed expressions of interest from a wide range of companies (including mines, retail shopping malls, commercial offices, manufacturing plants, NGOs, hotels and lodges, churches, clinics and schools), totalling over 100MW of clean, efficient, reliable power. Just a few of their projects to date include:

RESIDENTIAL INSTALLATIONS DPA offers a choice of packages to suit any home owner ranging from a simple 3kW setup to a 5kW system, or a 10kW/15kW solar and battery inverter solution for large executive homes. Some customers might just choose a battery and inverter solution alone, without the solar panels, as long as the main grid is still functional. There are extremely attractive financing options available with no deposit, free maintenance on a 3-7 year repayment scheme. You can also monitor your home’s energy consumption and power status from your phone or any digital device.

AGRICULTURAL

DPA has solar system packages for farmers and have begun installations in horticultural and floricultural farms

COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL

Kefalos Foods in Harare South is among DPA’s commercial customers who have recently gone green with an installation of a 600kW solar system to meet their energy requirements. The Surrey Group also recently installed a 118kW roof mounted solar power system at their abattoir and food processing plant in Marondera. Other DPA commercial and industrial solar constructions include Schweppes Zimbabwe, Liquid South Africa and a hospital in Kenya.Boxlee Packaging – one of the largest sheet board packaging plants in South Africa – was one of DPA’s first South African customers to commission a solar system at their factory in line with their environmental compliance goals.

TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY

Bomani Lodge and Nehimba Lodge in Hwange have installed off-grid solar power systems blended with battery back-up for complete power reliability. The solar solutions mean that the lodges are no longer reliant on expensive diesel generators helping to reduce their carbon footprints and offering guests the luxury of reduced noise levels and a greener more peaceful environment.

Blue Swallow Lodges (part of Dawn Properties) situated near Troutbeck Hotel in Nyanga, have also recently installed a DPA ground mounted solar power system. Hopefully this trend to go green will soon be adopted at all hotels and lodges across DPA offers a unique Power Lease Financing plan whereby customers pay a fixed rate for the contract period of 15 years with zero deposit. The scheme consists of a 15 year lease for the engineering and installation of the entire solar setup (power plant), which they operate, monitor and maintain for the entire period at no additional cost. Divyajeet Mahajan – CEO of DPA Zimbabwe – was quoted in Techzim (5th April, 2019) as saying, “DPA has signed more than 100 MW expressions of interest in solar solutions from a wide range of companies…

The current challenges with diesel shortages and the potential for power disruption and the need to have reliable and clean energy has made solar and lithium batteries a very attractive alternative energy option. The fact that DPA requires no upfront investment from the Zimbabwe as it will help improve our carbon credit score as a country and make us a more attractive tourist destination.

EDUCATION SECTOR Mupambe Primary School in rural Hwange, which was previously lacking in most basic facilities and largely underfunded, has received a 45 panel solar power setup donated by DPA as part of their social responsibility programme.Several private schools in the cities have also expressed interest in solar solutions to power lights, computers, the internet and the schools’ laboratories.

HEALTH SECTOR The prestigious Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya has begun installations of their solar system engineered by DPA. Other projects in construction include: 1.2MW Liquid Data Centre, Midrand, South Africa. 1.2MWLiquid Data Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. 100kW Econet Leo Data Centre, Burundi. 1.5MW setup for Schweppes, Zimbabwe. Only larger and more established companies like DPA have the capacity to provide skills training and the ability to maintain the highest standards, as the solar installation process includes both engineering and construction expertise.

Their Safety and Environmental Health teams work closely with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and other regulators to maintain the most stringent standards. DPA only supplies components from the most reputable and dependable Tier 1 sources so they can guarantee the best products. For example, photovoltaic panels are sourced from Jinko, SunPower and Canadian Solar; inverters are sourced from SMA, Huawei, SolarEdge and Schneider, while batteries are sourced from Blue Nova, BMZ, Solar MD and Tesla.

DPA offers a unique Power Lease Financing plan whereby customers pay a fixed rate for the contract period of 15 years with zero deposit. The scheme consists of a 15 year lease for the engineering and installation of the entire solar setup (power plant), which they operate, monitor and maintain for the entire period at no additional cost. Divyajeet Mahajan – CEO of DPA Zimbabwe – was quoted in Techzim (5th April, 2019) as saying, “DPA has signed more than 100 MW expressions of interest in solar solutions from a wide range of companies… The current challenges with diesel shortages and the potential for power disruption and the need to have reliable and clean energy has made solar and lithium batteries a very attractive alternative energy option. The fact that DPA requires no upfront investment from the Zimbabwe as it will help improve our carbon credit score as a country and make us a more attractive tourist destination.

EDUCATION SECTOR

Mupambe Primary School in rural Hwange, which was previously lacking in most basic facilities and largely underfunded, has received a 45 panel solar power setup donated by DPA as part of their social responsibility programme. Several private schools in the cities have also expressed interest in solar solutions to power lights, computers, the internet and the schools’ laboratories.

HEALTH SECTOR

The prestigious Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya has begun installations of their solar system engineered by DPA. Other projects in construction include: 1.2MW Liquid Data Centre, Midrand, South Africa. 1.2MWLiquid Data Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. 100kW Econet Leo Data Centre, Burundi. 1.5MW setup for Schweppes, Zimbabwe. Only larger and more established companies like DPA have the capacity to provide skills training and the ability to maintain the highest standards, as the solar installation process includes both engineering and construction expertise. Their Safety and Environmental Health teams work closely with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and other regulators to maintain the most stringent standards.

DPA only supplies components from the most reputable and dependable Tier 1 sources so they can guarantee the best products. For example, photovoltaic panels are sourced from Jinko, SunPower and Canadian Solar; inverters are sourced from SMA, Huawei, SolarEdge and Schneider, while batteries are sourced from Blue Nova, BMZ, Solar MD and Tesla. customer, and takes care of operations and maintenance has increased interest to adopt solar. DPA guarantees performance of their technology and systems and this has built a lot of confidence in the market.” While DPA is a relatively young company no doubt their future journey towards development in Africa will be both interesting and empowering.

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