Maputo — Solar power is improving the living conditions of thousands of Mozambicans living in rural areas not connected to the national electricity network. The solar panels have been installed by the National Energy Fund (FUNAE) to provide electricity for homes, schools, health units, police stations, public lighting and public buildings.
The project to install the solar panels has been implemented with financial support from the European Union.
A team from FUNAE recently visited some of the zones covered by the project in northern Mozambique to analyse the socio economic impact.
The team visited the districts of Chiure and Meluco in Cabo Delgado province, Nipepe in Niassa province and Monapo in Nampula province. It found that residents are using the energy for lighting, refrigeration, and charging mobile telephones.
In the health units the power is being used for refrigerators to conserve medicines and to provide lighting so that patients can be treated at any time of day.
The team also found that night schools are being organised for adult education and computers are being introduced into classrooms.
Nationally, about thirty per cent of the population have access to electricity, of whom twenty per cent have access through the electricity grid.
FUNAE intends to provide solar power to 2.1 million Mozambicans as part of a fifteen year strategy for the development of new and renewable energy.
Other forms of electricity generation that are being investigated include the use of small hydro-electric generators, wind generators, geothermal systems and biomass from organic material such as sugar cane. The strategy also covers power generation from the sea, using wave and tidal energy, and temperature variations in the ocean.