An integrated 400MW Solar Park

Project Background

The Sable Solar Park Project is being developed on a site adjacent to Sable Chemicals’ fertilizer production facility at Sherwood, 20 km outside the city of Kwekwe, on the Harare to Bulawayo highway.

The proposed site benefits from high levels of solar irradiation (GHI of c. 2,140 kWh/m²/annum), as well as access to existing basic site infrastructure (i.e., water, access roads, etc.). It is also approximately 5 km from the Sherwood substation and close enough to Sable Chemicals’ existing facilities to benefit from shared services such as use of railway sidings, treated water, canteens and fire-fighting services.

Sable Solar Park is expected to be Zimbabwe’s largest grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) plant when upon completion. At completion the 400 Megawatt (MW) of electricity generated by the park will account for approximately 10% of the country’s projected medium term energy generation capacity. The energy from the park will supply electricity to the state-owned utility company, ZETDC, and will provide enough energy to power over 250,000 households in Zimbabwe.

The park is being developed in 50MW phases and its first phase has been licensed and is currently being developed by Tatanga Energy through the Sable Solar Energy SPV.

The project will enable Sable Chemicals to re commission their electrolysis units which were decommissioned as a result of the recent energy deficit in Zimbabwe. The project will enhance regional food security and help Zimbabwe to regain self-sufficiency in the manufacture of nitrogenous fertilizers.

Frequently Asked Questions

A solar PV park can be described as a concentrated zone for multiple solar power generation projects. Utilizing common infrastructure and technical studies, projects located in a solar pv park can reduce the development lead time and cost of developing projects. The Park will assist in the rapid deployment of solar plants by providing a serviced site and streamlined permitting/licensing processes to assist investors to establish their projects on the site. Key attributes of a solar pv park are:

  • Utilization of common infrastructure and access to amenities
  • Utilization of a unitary Feasibility Study
  • Reduced number and complexity of permits and approvals

There are multiple benefits that can derived from the development of a solar pv project. Benefits include:

  • Reduced development costs
  • Streamlined permitting
  • Common site appraisal for multiple projects
  • Better network optimization, better grid integration and reduced transmission losses

The often- substantial monetary savings of co-locating projects in a solar PV park are passed on to consumers in the form of lower tariffs.

The park will provide solar pv projects with the following basic infrastructure:

  • Roads
  • Water treatment plant
  • Boundary and internal fencing
  • Security
  • Green belt buffer
  • Landscaping
  • Transmission infrastructure

The concept of shared services can be defined as an operational concept whereby services and functions that were once performed across separate entities are centralized. In the case of renewable energy these services may include the provision of security, canteen, health facilities and weather monitoring services.

The utilization of shared services will enable developers to enjoy significant cost savings by standardizing practices and procedures and by creating economies of scale.