The Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF), which aims at industrialising rural parts of the nation.

Speaking during a press briefing held at REA headquarters in Lusaka yesterday, REA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Clement Silavwe said the partnership with ZCF would enable the use of the electricity generation resource from solar milling plants to increase access to electricity in rural areas.

He said, ZCF had installed over 1,500 milling plants across the country, which generate 15 Kilowatts of electricity each, and would ensure electrical services country side; providing electricity to homes around milling plants.

REA will develop distribution lines to evacuate the excess electricity from the solar milling plants to the targeted beneficiaries…and design site-specific technical solutions that will ensure proper utilization of excess solar energy from the solar milling plants,

REA CEO Clement Silavwe

Also speaking at the meeting, ZCF Director General James Chirwa said the intended purpose of the milling plants was to ensure the price of processing maize into mealie meal was reduced in order to sell the commodity to surrounding communities at an affordable price.

We have three types of types of milling machines…we have been making improvements without the public realizing. As we are using the machines, we have been seeing issues that need to be addressed,

ZCF General Director James Chirwa

Chirwa said that solar power was renewable and a more sustainable source of energy than electricity provided by grid extensions which came with losses.

The REA and ZCF project has not yet been costed and awaits a detailed implementation budget and plan which will be formulated by both parties.

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