The Rural Electrification Authority has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) which will enable the two parties to make use of the electricity generation resource from Solar Milling plants that already exist across the country. The signing ceremony was held on Thursday, 12th December, 2019 in Lusaka.
ZCF has to-date installed over 1,500 Solar Milling Plants which generate up to 15kW of electricity per plant. To date, each milling machine uses only up to 7.5kw for maize meal grinding purposes. This therefore leaves 7.5kW unutilized, which translates to a capacity of about 12 Megawatts of unutilized electricity across the country.
Using the excess power generation capacity, REA in collaboration with ZCF and respective Cooperatives, will develop and design site-specific technical solutions that will ensure proper utilisation of excess solar energy from the solar milling plants. These solutions will include development of distribution lines to evacuate the excess electricity from the solar milling plants to the targeted beneficiaries; development of energy storage solutions for the excess electricity; as well as providing technical support in undertaking the environmental impact assessments for all the plant sites.
The ultimate goal for this collaboration is to unlocking the potential by milling plants to provide other value added services such as lighting, water pumping, irrigation, entertainment, telecommunication, internet and banking services. These services will enable communities around the plants to engage in productive uses of electricity that allow them to generate income which will in turn transform their living standards.