Schweppes Holding Africa limited plans to roll-out solar energy projects across the group of companies, incorporating all production sites and distribution centres in the coming year.
So far the company has invested US$2million in a 1MW solar project to support the company’s energy needs for the Willowvale production facility.
This was achievable in partnership with Distributed Power Africa (DPA) through a power lease agreement running over a number of years.
Speaking at the commissioning of the biggest rooftop solar power plant Friday, Schweppes Holdings Africa Limited managing director, Mr Charles Msipa said renewable energy is both cleaner and sustainable.
“This solar initiative will ensure that we achieve a reliable power supply for our main operations during the day, reduce demand on the national grid, save on utility bills and have green energy in support of our organizational sustainability goals because we consider environmental, social and economic pillars of growth as central to our progression as a business.
“We are looking forward to a time when green energy will not cost a premium and urge authorities to incentivize the investment in renewable energy for local businesses.
“This will have significant national benefits of increased power generation, of which the excess can be channeled to the national grid for the benefit of communities,” he said.
He said government investment in research and development for cost effective renewable energy solutions was essential for making it more accessible to the vast populous and general economic development.
“A good starting point for innovation is lower cost option of batteries for harnessing solar energy.
“The current cost of batteries for this plant is 3 times the cost of the solar panels themselves and with replacement required every 4 years, it is very prohibitive. We have very capable engineers and institutions who can be supported and encouraged to develop solutions to some these challenges,” Mr Msipa said.
The Willovale production facility requirements are approximately 1,5MW and the plant will produce at least 67 percent of power requirements during the day.
The solar energy plant has a life of 25 years and local, technical expertise through DPA is available to ensure it is maintained in good working order during its lifespan.
“In addition to that, the resultant benefits of lower cost and independence from the local power grid cannot be ignored, especially at a time when national power demand exceeds the capacity for power generation which can cause costly disruptions to business,” he said.
As current Chair of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BSCDZ), Mr Msipa made an urgent call for industry to adopt clean technologies in line with the global patterns of production and consumption.
“As private sector, we have to take the lead is mitigating some of the effects of these global issues by embracing the concept and creating a strong culture for sustainable business.
“My Executive Team has been well acquainted with the strategic need to mainstream sustainability in our operations. Our drive for sustainable development will not end here, but we have identified further opportunities to enhance our climate mitigation efforts well into the future,” he said.
“In conclusion, we value the support we have received from all our stakeholders through-out this project and will use this as a platform to strengthen our capabilities for greening the economy.”