ZIMBABWE – Varun Beverages Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited, the franchise bottler of PepsiCo in Zimbabwe, has inked a 25-year power lease agreement with Distributed Power Africa (DPA), a subsidiary of Cassava Technologies, to install a 2.5MWp rooftop solar solution at its manufacturing plant in Harare.

With a forecasted annual energy production of 4.1GW, the system will be mounted at Varun Beverages’ Simon Mazorodze bottling plant, and will be the largest roof solar system installed in Zimbabwe to date, reports The Herald.

Following installation of the unit, the drinks maker is set to mull significant savings on the costs of grid and diesel backup power, business continuity during power outages, and a reduced carbon footprint.

Mr Vijay Bahl, chief executive officer of Varun Beverages Zimbabwe, remarked, “We are pleased to partner with DPA on this milestone project. Implementating this solar-powered solution will effectively reduce our energy costs, enable us to manage consistent power supply and further pass the benefit of affordable Pepsi Products to Zimbabwe consumers.

“We are expecting a saving of approximately 2,500 tons of carbon emissions annually.”

Varun joins several Zimbabwe corporates switching to renewable energy in light of recurring power cuts and the global drive towards adoption of clean energy to combat global warming.

Late last year, Nhimbe Fresh, one of Zimbabwe’s largest horticultural firms, completed the construction of a 1.9 megawatts (MW) solar plant, to power operations at its estates in Marondera.

Prior to that, Schweppes Zimbabwe, manufacturer and distributor of non-carbonated beverages in Zimbabwe commissioned a 500 kilowatts solar power plant mid this year, to run its Beitbridge Juice Plant.

Commenting on the agreement, Mr Divyajeet Mahajan, the chief executive officer of DPA Zimbabwe, said, “We are committed to helping our commercial and industrial customers by providing fully integrated solutions that drive down their energy costs and meet their commitments to protect the environment.

“We believe this should inspire other energy-intensive sectors to join the growing movement towards sustainable energy and shift to more efficient and environmentally friendly power solutions like solar.”

The announced deal closely follows Varun’s recent launch of a new US$12m water bottling line, with a production capacity of 15 million bottles per month.

The new 400 bottle per minute line is part of the third phase of the company’s expansion project, which will bring total production capacity to 66 million bottles of sparkling beverages, cans and bottled water per month.

Commissioning of the new line earmarked for production of its Aquaclear bottled mineral water brand, lays the foundation stone of its fourth phase of investment in a new plastic closure plant with an annual production capacity of 500 million pieces.

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