Could you give us a brief Introduction to your Veloso Energias and some of the projects you are involved with?
Veloso Sande (VS): Veloso Energias is an early-stage subsidiary of our core telecom investment company. While working with different partners from network providers to mining operators, we saw a large deficit in power infrastructure in areas where they operated. As a component to the telecom project, we developed a branch to provide renewable solar energy to those clients but also to provide the communities around the project site with power.
Can you tell us where Veloso sources its solar panels and where you currently operate in Mozambique?
VS: Veloso currently sources its solar panels from China due to the very competitive prices. There is a factory in Mozambique that produces solar panels but they are not yet internationally certified. This means we cannot purchase panels from them and sell it to a multinational company like Vodacom or our mining clients. They work for the domestic market at the community level but not elsewhere.
What type of guarantees does Veloso offer its clients in terms of quality for the solar panels that it buys in China? Does Veloso plan to set up a factory here?
VS: Veloso offers the same guarantees that the factories in China offer us. We serve as a bridge between the factory and the clients here in Mozambique. It is very difficult to set up a factory that can compete with China or India. In some cases, it is cheaper to purchase from China than from the local factory here. Despite the move towards more renewable energy and the great potential for solar power, we still see that it is not the main focus in Mozambique. There have been recent developments in coal- and gas-energy plants but nothing major in terms of solar power. It might be a few more years before the solar sector picks up more in Mozambique.
Who are some of Veloso’s current client?
VS: Veloso works with telecommunication companies and banks to provide power to their infrastructure in rural areas that lack accessibility. We also work with radio services and similar projects in rural areas. We are currently trying to target mining companies, although the market has slowed down. Our goal is to target the service providers to the mining industry in rural areas like Tete and Cabo Delgado, we see a lot of market potential here.
What are three main goals for Veloso Energias over the next two years?
VS: Veloso Energias will become a top brand in the local energy market as we move away from telecoms and position ourselves to face the challenges of the coming years and serve the local markets energy demands. Some of our foreign suppliers want us to set up operations in other African countries which we are looking at that as a possibility. There is still a long way to go for solar in Mozambique.
Please provide a final message from Veloso Energias to our international readership.
VS: Mozambique is a great country with a lot of opportunities in mining and industry. Despite the commodity crises, there are still great opportunities in the local market. We welcome you to come and invest in Mozambique, together we can achieve great things.
This interview was part of research being conducted by GBR for its Sub-Saharan Africa Oil and Gas Handbook 2016, which will be published in October. The 2015 edition of the handbook can be accessed here. The GBR team is currently in Mozambique conducting the necessary research and interviews for the mining and oil & gas sectors. To participate in this report, please contact Molly Concannon at firstname.lastname@example.org or +258 82 559 4115.