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Thursday, July 18, 2024

COMESA working on standardising solar energy infrastructure markets

Story by Owen Mandovha, Business Reporter

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is working on standardising solar energy infrastructure markets in the Member States to create a sustainable renewable market and safeguard consumers.

As consumers turn to solar energy to supplement their energy needs in the wake of power outages, this has come with its fair share of risks and dangers owing to some companies importing uncertified solar products.

To create sustainable renewable energy infrastructure and safeguard users, COMESA, through the Regional Infrastructure Finance Facility Project, is working with government agencies from each Member State to establish minimum standards to guarantee compliance in the growing solar energy market.

The regional trade body organised a two-day seminar to deliberate on regulating the solar energy sector which ended in Harare this Tuesday.

“In the advent of the solar market which continues to grow, there has been a proliferation of unlicensed and uncertified solar products which are not only reliable but provide risks to users.

“This calls for the regulation of the industry by way of putting in place solar standards that will eliminate these products which conform to internationally acclaimed standards,” said Renewable Energy and Regulatory Expert at COMESA, Mr Ahid Maeresera.

President of the Renewable Energy Association of Zimbabwe Mr Isaiah Nyakutendwa says regulating the solar energy market was long overdue.

“This is noble and from a private sector point of view, the solar industry has been flooded with cheap and uncertified imports which have proved to be dangerous to users. Above all, there is no warranty in most of these cases which exposes the user to counterfeit and untested products.”

COMESA is working with local agencies including the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) for the adoption of these standards.

“ZERA is going to be an integral part in setting up these standards by way of creating a database and register that will help users to verify certification of all solar products,” said Renewable Energy Engineer, Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), Mr Tobias Mudzingwa.

“SAZ is set to be a key player in amplifying these standards as it is one of our key mandates. This is paramount in ensuring that there are benchmarks that effectively make these standards work,” said Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), Engineer Eusabia Mashiringwane.

The seminar was attended by stakeholders from the renewable energy industry and several government departments and agencies.

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