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 1-3 of 3 key documents
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.