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Alternative energy sources used by Nkulumane residents in Bulawayo, the case study of Nkulumane 12, Zimbabwe

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Zimbabwe Open University, Box 346, Gwanda, Zimbabwe

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 9, Issue (1), Pages 64-68, January,22 (2020)


The purpose of the study was to establish the coping strategies adopted by the residents of Nkulumane in light of the introduction of the pre-paid system of payment for electricity. For this study the author opted for the descriptive survey research. The subjects of the study were 120 household heads in 100 randomly selected houses of Nkulumane 12 from a population of 1000 houses. The major sources of energy used for cooking by the Nkulumane 12 residents are firewood, electricity, gas gel and paraffin, however with most residents using a variety of sources. The most widely used source of energy for cooking is electricity which is used by 92.5% of the residence in combination with other sources of energy. Most residents (31.7%) use electricity and paraffin for cooking followed by those who use electricity, firewood and paraffin (19.2%). There was a surprisingly low use of gas in all age groups with most residents claiming to use gas when there was no electricity. Only 9 out of the 120 households interviewed said they use solar for lighting and all of them were in the above US$600 per month level of income. The major reason given for not using solar energy was that it was expensive. When asked about the costs of solar lighting units 90% of the residents said they had never bothered to find the cost of solar lighting units. From the interviews it was estimated that households spend on average US$1.43 on candles. Based on the 2012 costs of solar lighting units it was estimated that residents would spend on average US$0.12 per month based on a 25 year lifespan for solar panels and US$0.58 based on a 5 year life span for solar panels. The results indicate that the residents of Nkulumane spend most of their money on electricity with 33.3% spending more than US$20 a month whilst 34.2% spend between US$11 and US$20 and about 32.5% spending less than US$10 on electricity per month.


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