REAZ was formed out of a workshop we had with ZERA in 2014 when we were talking about the net metering legislation. It was felt that with the increasing number of players in the renewable energy sector we needed to have an organisation so that the members can speak with one voice. After that workshop an interim committee was set up which then started working on setting up the association so to date the association is now fully fledged and now it has got a substantive committee elected and are now in office. REAZ welcomes all players, namely corporates, individuals, institutions and associates to join so that we can champion the use of renewable energy in a sustainable way.
We have partnered with Power for All, a campaign which seeks to ensure Zimbabwe have access to renewable energy. We have held our workshop in harare where we have explained the status of the renewable energy sector and the status of REAZ. We have also encouraged the participants to be members of REAZ. The ministry was also well represented by the Principal Director on behalf of the Permanent Secretary and the regulator was also present.
The ministry of energy is currently carrying out the issue of policy and in that regard REAZ is already party to that process as we are involved in an outreach programme with the ministry having done an inception workshop in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare with Chinhoyi bering the next stage as well as Mash east and a finally a validation workshop in Harare and finalise the renewable energy policy. This is being handled by a consultant appointed by the ministry.
The renewable energy sector is a growth area which has seen many players coming into the sector and the main challenge we are finding is that of standards. As an association as the regulator, the ministry are concerned about the quality of the products that are being brought into the country and being sold to the general public. Our role is to ensure that we enforce the issue of standards. Equally the issue of skills is a major worry because people who are installing renewable energy particularly solar do not have the expertise and the general public find themselves in a difficult situation because they would have invested in something and the people who install them don’t give the appropriate service.
The other challenges we are finding is that of policy which is being addressed by the renewable energy policy that is taking pace. We would like as many participants to come and join REAZ so that we can tackle some of these challenges we have mentioned. The country needs targets to say what do we need to achieve in as far as renewable energy is concerned because its the cheapest and fastest way to get people to have renewable energy and its also clean.