The project is one of the Swiss Government’s largest solar facilities in the region at its Embassy and residences that is meant to generate clean, low-carbon and sustainable energy. The installation is meant to fight climate change and follows the goals of the Swiss Government to become a zero carbon emission country.
The installation of the solar facility is timely considering the effect of climate change which is of great concern to all relevant stakeholders globally and marks another major stride in the history of Switzerland’s investment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The president of Switzerland, Mrs. Simonetta Sommaruga recently announced that Switzerland strives to be CO2 neutral already by 2050.
During the inauguration ceremony, Minister Chasi said, “Solar power is a practical solution for Zimbabwe, not only because the country has high levels of sunshine, but also because it is clean and sustainable and could save the country money that is used to import electricity. Climate change means that we have to look at alternatives and I am happy with this investment from Switzerland which is in line with Zimbabwe’s energy policy that promotes a transition to clean energy.”
Switzerland’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, Mr. Niculin Jäger said: “We are proud to have one of the largest solar installation by a Swiss Embassy in the region. Solar power is a key part of our “sustainable embassies” programme and further proof of Switzerland’s global commitment to environmental protection. I hope this project will inspire many others.”
"Zimbabwe is a good place to invest in solar energy. The climate and regulatory framework is conducive and the Government of Zimbabwe rightly recognises that the future of energy is renewable,” added Ambassador Jäger, pointing out: “It is great that this is now also triggering a lot of private sector interest in solar power generation.”
The power produced from the solar panels will be used to run all the power needs at the Embassy and residences, with solar power providing 100 percent of the electric power required in full-capacity operation.
A first phase of the installation of high efficiency solar panels at the Embassy was first made in 2010 and was already then part of Switzerland’s commitment to clean energy. Switzerland, a pioneer of sustainable technologies is home to the first solar powered plane Solar impulse that flew around the globe.
The solar power generated will have a strong positive impact not only on the environment but also on the local economy especially following the recent announcement by the Government of Zimbabwe that it will be tapping into excess power produced by private users of solar energy through a net metering programme. The Embassy will be able to supply green power to the neighbourhood.
The Embassy has plans to use the electricity produced from the solar installation to charge an electric vehicle. The use of an electric vehicle will further reduce emissions.
There were three key reasons why the embassy opted for a solar power system in Zimbabwe. Firstly, Zimbabwe receives abundant sunshine, averaging more than six hours a day. The second reason is the rising price of electricity generation in the region. Due to climate change and prolonged periods of drought, water shortages are on the rise, and therefore less hydroelectric power is being produced and many Embassies still rely on diesel generators. Thirdly, the solar power generated by the Embassy itself is more ecological than the electricity from the grid, as the public electricity mix is generated only partly from renewable energy sources.
In addition, the grounds around the Embassy and the residence are generously planted with species of flora and fauna that contributes to local biodiversity. Water wise planting, rain water harvesting and targeted watering reduce the consumption of fresh water significantly. With all these measures, the Swiss Embassy is setting an important example in terms of sustainability and environmental responsibility.
For more details on Swiss global solar projects visit: www.solarimpulse.com