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SOLAR ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES IN MOZAMBIQUE -
PRESENT & FUTURE

By

BOAVENTURA CUAMBA


Executive Summary

Mozambique*s energy resources can be classified into three categories: (I) commercial forms of energy, consisting of hydropower, natural gas and coal; (ii) biomass products, a group comprising fuelwood, vegetal coal and animal dung, and (iii) renewable energy resources, from which small hydro, wind and solar may have a special relevance in Mozambique. At the present time only 6 per cent of the total population of the country is linked to the mains grid and the rest is using traditional forms of energy, mainly forest products which share about 83 per cent of the total energy consumed in the country.

Considering that more than 80 per cent of the 16 million inhabitants of the country live in rural areas, grouped in small communities spread over the country, whose surface is of about 800,000 square kilometres, the extension of the mains grid cannot be a viable option in order to increase the coverage of  energy services. Therefore there is a need to explore alternative forms of energy, especially the renewable ones, as they are appropriate for the context of disperse living, and apart from that they are environmentally sound. One of the most abundant renewable energy resources in the Eastern and Southern African Region, in general, and in Mozambique, in particular, is solar energy. Thus this resource deserves a special consideration for supply energy needs in rural and remote areas.

This work is integrated into the African Energy Policy Research Network (AFREPREN/FWD) initiative to assess the degree of implementation of  renewable energy technologies in Eastern and Southern African Region. Its aim is to study the status of dissemination of solar energy technologies in Mozambique. The focus is on solar energy photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar water heaters.

Mozambique has practically entered the market of solar energy technologies in 1993, with exception of photovoltaic navigational aid systems, which have been installed since 1990.  Therefore the status of dissemination of solar energy technologies is in its embryonic stage. The activities have been focussing on promoting PV systems. Now the total capacity installed  throughout the whole country has achieved almost 100 kW. In particular the segment of remote industrial or professional photovoltaic systems was the one growing very rapidly until this year. A programme for electrification of about 150 rural health centres with support of the Norwegian Development Agency NORAD is scheduled to start by the end of this year. This will be the first large project in the market segment of remote villages systems. It is expected that the experiences from the health sector project will to a large extent be directly transferable to similar efforts like electrification of rural schools and district headquarters.

As far as institutions for development of solar energy technologies are concerned, some progress has been registered. During the present decade units dealing with renewable energy technologies have been established in different governmental institutions. Eight companies commercialising solar energy products have been created during the present decade. There are research activities in the field at the Eduardo Mondlane University.


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