The Rural Electrification Fund (REF) has embarked on massive solar programme for rural communities as part of its mandate to provide universal access to modern energy services by 2030.

Planning and Technology Director ,Eng Cliff Nhandara said that the solar projects were being installed in rural communities which are far away from the existing grid network where such areas are unlikely to benefit from the conventional electricity in the foreseeable future.

Eng Nhandara said that each of the eight rural provinces received three solar projects except Mashonaland West which has four.

“Construction work on these projects started last year in each of the eight provinces and we are almost complete with just a few civil works being finalized”, he said.

In Manicaland province REF completed the construction of Chikwizi solar plant in Chipinge which is benefiting the local primary school. The Matsakanure solar plant is another project benefiting the secondary school and the 5kW Nyamusosa solar plant providing electricity to Nyamusosa clinic.

The Planning and Technology Director pointed out that the Chipendeke solar plant (10kW),Gunikuni (15Kw)  and Mabhare (15 Kw) in Masvingo province were also built in Masvingo province to supply electricity to both primary and secondary schools as well as rural health centres.

The Chimango Solar plant lighting up the secondary school and clinic is complete while Chisvo primary  school and clinic as well as Matedza secondary school in Mutoko`s Mashonaland East province benefited from the three solar plants.

Midlands province had the 15kW Umelusi solar plant in Lower Gweru commissioned by the then Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution ,Hon Larry Mavhima in June this year while the Sawi solar plant is also complete.

Eng Nhandara said that in Matabeleland North,the 10Kw Tyunga solar plant ,the Kokoloza which is 15Kw and the 15 Kw Siyamukuwa in Binga are also complete while in Matabeleland South the Chitulipasi Zenzele and Butshe solar plants are complete.

The solar programme is benefiting both communities and institutions like schools, rural health centres and other rural based government offices.