Technologies to harness solar power as a path to low-carbon energy are developing at breakneck speed. How can developing countries best make use of them to benefit the millions of rural poor who still live without electricity?
Displaying 1-11 of 11 key documents
Source: International Solar Energy Society (ISES)
This project outlines deployment models and decision support tools for supplying energy, including solar, to rural areas in developing countries. It showcases practical examples of rural energy supply from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including the use of solar home systems in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, among others. The project also lists experts in rural energy supply across different regions of the developing world.
Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)
This interactive map provides information on policies, targets, shares, capacity, production and scenarios for renewable energy by technology and country or region. Information on the state of both solar photovoltaics and solar thermal is available, as well as wind power, geothermal energy, hydropower and biomass.
Source: The Broker | April 2009
This special report, published in The Broker magazine, provides a collection of articles on solar energy. It includes an article on how solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies work, a report on solar energy in developing countries, and a case study of solar energy in India — from market trends to rural electrification programmes.
Source: UN Environment Programme | 2009
This annual report from the UN Environment Programme highlights investment trends in renewable energy, including solar technologies. It finds that new investment in renewables continues to rise — despite the global financial crisis — as a result of a growing focus on climate change, energy insecurity, fossil fuel depletion and new technologies. In 2008, the solar sector received US$33.5 billion of new investment — a rise of 49 per cent from 2007.
Source: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) | 2005
This report examines how renewable energy can help developing countries boost economic development and alleviate poverty. It highlights the benefits of using renewable energy technologies — from increasing access to electricity to creating jobs — and outlines the hurdles to scaling up production, including the lack of subsidies and government support. The report suggests several actions for policymakers, including creating supportive policies, promoting private investment, nurturing micro-enterprise, and building projects around local needs.
Source: Greenpeace | 2008
This report, published by Greenpeace, highlights global trends and developments in solar photovoltaics (PV). It includes background information on how PV technologies work and an overview of global PV markets, including predictions for market growth to 2030. Applications of PV technology for grid-connected and off-grid energy are presented and the benefits, cost and competitiveness of these are discussed.
The report makes several policy recommendations, including adopting support schemes, removing fossil-fuel subsidies and implementing legally enforced mechanisms to accelerate PV development.
Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/International Energy Agency | October 2006
This report, written by Cédric Philibert of the International Energy Agency, provides an overview of solar thermal technologies and examines the economic, technical and institutional barriers to diffusing these. Examples of barriers include high investment costs, lack of trained engineers and lack of awareness among policymakers and the public.
The author suggests several policies to overcome these — for example, by supporting research and development, encouraging professional training, establishing subsidies for solar thermal technologies, reducing import tariffs and carbon trading.
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) | January 2010
This article, written by scientists in Niger and the United States, assesses the suitability of solar-powered irrigation for improving food security in rural regions of West Africa. The authors describe an irrigation system that combines drip irrigation with a photovoltaic solar-powered water pump, and test its efficacy and impact through household surveys and field data. They find that solar-powered drip irrigation is cost-effective and significantly boosts household incomes and nutritional intake.
Source: Renewable Energy | December 2009
This article assesses the practicality and affordability of solar systems for small businesses in remote rural areas. The authors did this by monitoring the use of six 'productive use containers' — shipping containers converted into solar-powered business centres — and surveying local entrepreneurs in a rural part of South Africa. The authors find that the containers offer significant benefits to local communities, including improved communications and higher incomes.
Source: Consilience | February 2008
This article assesses the benefits and drawbacks of using solar home lighting to supply energy to rural villages in India. The author suggests that these systems can meet all a village's lighting needs and have other benefits including better education, lower costs and reduced reliance on kerosene. But the systems are also susceptible to damage, with component parts often needing replacing or repair. The author highlights the need for financial support to disseminate solar home lighting — be it through microfinance or government subsidies.
Source: IISD | July 2008
This report examines ways to increase flows of domestic and foreign investment into clean energy infrastructure and technology in developing countries. It is a synthesis report of the International Institute for Sustainable Development's Clean Energy Investment project.
The authors outline the investment climate in developing countries and suggest ways that policymakers can remove barriers and establish incentives. They suggest there is a need for analytical national studies that highlight the obstacles to clean energy investment — such as a lack of clear guidance on future energy policy, monopoly structures for existing producers, and weak environmental regulation — and a concerted effort at implementing policies to overcome these. The authors also discuss existing international investment law, suggesting ways in which this might foster more clean energy investment.
A policymakers summary of the report is also available.