Nhimbe Fresh is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest fruit and tobacco producers. The firm currently plans to solar power its cold store and packhouse facilities in a project with South African renewable energy start-up Sun Exchange.
According to Nhimbe Fresh, the planned 1.9 megawatt (MW) solar farm and battery storage facility would make its business less prone to electricity shortages caused by frequent power cuts in Zimbabwe, which in some parts of the country lasted up to 18 hours earlier this year.
“The power outages have a major impact on our production and processing, reducing our capacity to 60%. We have backup diesel generators for the packhouses and irrigation, but they’re too expensive to run,” said Nhimbe Fresh’s Chairman Edwin Moyo.
Sun Exchange, which allows people to buy individual cells on solar projects and earn a rental income in cryptocurrency, said it would launch crowd-sales for phase 1 of the three-stage project. The first phase will power Nhimbe’s packhouse and cold store facilities.
The companies did not give a timeframe for the project.