25 September 2007 – The installations of 2 500 solar panels in the province of Inhambane has been delayed until 2009, Miquelina Menezes, chairperson of the board of directors of the government’s energy fund (FUNAE) confirmed. Installation was initially scheduled for the first half of 2007.

The installations, which form par of a rural electrification programme under which about 300 schools and the equivalent number of health posts should have been equipped with solar panels by July 2007.

Menezes admitted that the fund has missed these targets as the first part of the year was devoted to undertaking a study to identify where the panels would be installed.

"We can’t reach these targets, not even by the end of this year", she continued. "We had to identify and verify the places to install these systems. But we’ve done that now, and we’ve identified the households and everything that will benefit".

FUNAE plans to install simple, cheap systems that are easy to maintain and protect from theft. In an initial phase, the solar panels could be set up in Vilankulo, Inhassoro and Govuro districts – benefiting about 3,000 households, by 2009.

Additional delays have been caused the a failure to reach agreement on conditions for setting up the systems between FUNAE and the company responsible for installing the solar panels.

"We should have already started but we don’t agree with the prices charged by the company", said Menezes. "Our idea is to buy good quality systems, but ones which are also cheap".

$3 million dollars has been made available to FUNAE by the World Bank for solar panels, batteries and other accessories, with an aim of bringing power to areas of Mozambique which will not be reached by the national grid in the short or medium term.