Rural electrification in Sub Saharan Africa in a context of fluctuating oil-prices

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    Solar PV is one among other low carbon technologies for rural electrification in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). Solar PV systems have for almost 30 years been disseminated in SSA, resulting in more than half a million installations concentrated in a few countries. While PV systems have technically matured and markets have gradually developed, PV for rural electrification has often been perceived with scepticism from potential users, donors, government officials and researchers, and solar PV has in many camps been labelled as donor driven, expensive and fragile technology mainly serving the richest parts of the populations and with little or no value for productive uses. However, feasibility for solar PV has improved in the last few years. Retail prices for solar photovoltaic modules are reduced by 20-30% since 2001, and although far from the peak in 2008, oil prices in the next two years to come are expected to settle at a level, which is about three times the world market average in the years from 1985-2003. Therefore, rather than being limited to a niche for populations living in dispersed settlements outside the reach of grid electrification, solar PV is expected to play an important role in mini grid rural electrification schemes based on hybrid solar PVdiesel generators. This may bring PV systems in line with fossil fuel based systems in terms of consumer cost and options for productive use and it changes the market for PV from mainly donor supported schemes into mainstream rural electrification schemes governed and financed by electric utilities and rural electrification agencies. Based on a literature review and the experience with a full scale hybrid wind/PV diesel system at RISØ DTU, this paper provides cost estimates for hybrid PV-diesel systems and policy recommendations to change the application of PV technologies for development in SSA.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEnergy solutions for CO2 emission peak and subsequent decline : Proceedings
    Number of pages316
    Place of PublicationRoskilde
    PublisherDanmarks Tekniske Universitet, Risø Nationallaboratoriet for Bæredygtig Energi
    Publication date2009
    ISBN (Print)978-87-550-3783-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventRisø International Energy Conference 2009 - Risø DTU, Roskilde, Denmark
    Duration: 14 Sep 200916 Sep 2009


    ConferenceRisø International Energy Conference 2009
    LocationRisø DTU
    SeriesDenmark. Forskningscenter Risoe. Risoe-R


    • Climate and energy systems
    • Cleaner energy and sustainable development
    • Risø-R-1712
    • Risø-R-1712(EN)


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