Solar products and accessories are seen playing a major role in transforming lives in rural communities across Zimbabwe after government waived duty on solar equipment.
According to experts, the import duty waiver on solar products and accessories has seen prices go down by at least 80 percent in the past five years.
Government, in July this year, waived import duty on solar products to encourage the use of renewable energy in light of the current power challenges being experienced in Zimbabwe.
Speaking during the Zonful Energy launch in Guruve recently, chief executive and founder Engineer William Ponela said the reduced prices had also seen a rise in the uptake of solar products in rural areas.
At least 80 percent of people living in rural areas are living off-grid and rely on other forms of power.
The over-reliance on bio-fuels for heating and lighting had a negative impact on the environment especially through deforestation.
However, the influx of solar products and accessories is expected to ease the over-reliance on bio-fuels in rural areas.
Zonful Energy has introduced pay-as-you-go solar appliances in several rural communities.
“There has been an increase in the use of solar products across Zimbabwe but Government’s decision to waive duty on solar products has seen prices going down in comparison to five years ago,” he said.
More than 20 000 households have benefited from the project.
Meanwhile, Chivi Rural District Council chairman, Mr Godfrey Huruva also applauded the Zonful Energy programme saying it was contributing to Government’s devolution concept.
“Government is pushing for a middle-income economy by 2030 through assisting communities benefit from their readily available resources so this solar project is part of the devolution programme,” he said.
Gururve Rural District Council chairman Mr Ngoni Jeke hailed the Zonful Energy products saying they provided key deliverables at household levels.
“We as rural district councils have a mandate to deliver to the people including roads and other infrastructures but all these products are not delivered to the household level.
“However, products such as these being offered by Zonful Energy present an opportunity for us to provide these deliverables as household level so that the people are developed,” he said.
Zonful Energy started distributing solar products to stop the use of non-renewable energy sources with Mr Ponela revealing that the pay-as-you-go concept was adopted to fight the high prices of the products.
The programme would be rolled out to all 24 wards that are part of the Guruve RDC.
Other districts in Zimbabwe that have already benefited from the programme include Mhondoro-Ngezi, Mhondoro-Mubaira, Chivi, Bikita and several others.