HomeLocal NewsNew twist to US$183m solar project

New twist to US$183m solar project

BUSINESSMAN Wicknell Chivayo who was controversially awarded a tender to construct one of three solar power projects aimed at generating 100 megawatts each is reportedly seeking a new financier amid indications that his current partner Greenfield Solar of Germany does not have the money to implement the project.

Herbert Moyo

State Procurement Board (SPB) sources told the Zimbabwe Independent that Chivayo who was controversially roped in after initially losing the bid to China Jiangxi Corporation (CJC) is proposing to rope in Chint Electric of China as his new partner after it turned out that Greenfield Solar does not have the required funds to fulfil the contract to build the solar plant.

Chivayo responded to questions by stating that “as I have stated to you before, SPB regulations bind us to strict confidentiality.”

According to information on its website, Chint Electric describes itself as the largest manufacturer and seller of low-voltage electrical products in China, specialising in “the production and sales of low-voltage electrical products with over 100 series and 10 000 specifications, including modular din-rail products, moulded case circuit breaker, control products, relays, inverters, soft starters, transformers and automatic voltage regulators.”

“Chint is an owner of hundreds of patents worldwide, successively undertook the key scientific and technical projects specified in the 8th, 9th and 10th Five-Year Plans.”

Greenfield Solar describe themselves as “a developer of concentrated photovoltaic systems and solar cells. Its patented solar cell has the ability to operate cost effectively in both low concentration and high concentration systems.”

The solar tender has remained mired in controversy since it was first floated in September last year.

The controversy continued even after it was awarded to CJC was in January at a cost of US$183 million contract after SPB expanded the project to three solar plants to generate a combined total of 300 megawatts.

This entailed the incorporation of Chivayo’s Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and ZTE Corporation which had both lost in the initial tender.

Last week it emerged that the project will be further delayed as the companies are seeking to have their bids re-evaluated upwards to US$240 million from US$183 million.

This has serious financial implications for ZPC who would have to fork out a whooping US$720 million for the three projects up from the initial US$183 million they had budgeted for one solar project.

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