The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program will benefit more than 2 million people in Peru, Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino said.

The program will provide electricity to poor households using solar panels, Merino said.

The first phase of the program will focus on providing solar panels to 500,000 extremely poor households in areas that lack access to the power grid.

Bidding will be opened later for contractors to install the rest of the panels, Merino said.

The energy minister inaugurated the first phase of the project Monday in Contumaza, a province in the northeastern region of Cajamarca, where 1,601 solar panels were installed.

The program will allow 95 percent of Peru to have access to electricity by the end of 2016, when President Ollanta Humala's term ends, Merino said.

"This program is aimed at the poorest people, those who lack access to electric lighting and still use oil lamps, spending their own resources to pay for fuels that harm their health," the energy minister said.

The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program will cost about $200 million, Merino said. EFE