Rural Electrification: the potential and limitations of solar power in developing countries

Project leader


Funding source

Formas - The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/12/2018
Funding: 1930000 SEK


This study is motivated by three observations. First, nearly a fifth of the world population lacks access to electricity. Second, it is estimated that 530 million people in, primarily rural, sub-Saharan Africa will remain off-grid for the next 30 years. Finally, due to slow expansion of national grids solar power is being promoted by many as a decentralized and clean solution requiring minimal infrastructure investments. Yet very little is known about the benefits and limitations of solar power at the household level. The focus of this project is to provide the first experimental evidence on the adoption and impact of solar power at the household level. We will examine how price, liquidity constraints and information influence the decision to adopt a clean and renewable energy source such as solar power and how access to this source of energy influences household outcomes. In order to experimentally test how price and liquidity constraints influence take up of solar lamps we will randomly allocate vouchers to households that offer a subsidy on solar lamps, ranging from 0 to 100%. With our experimental design, we will be able to answer four research questions: 1) how does demand for a solar powered light source vary with price? 2) are there spill over effects in adoption of a renewable energy source? 3) how do learning and experience influence adoption of a renewable and clean energy source? 4) how does access to solar power influence outcomes of individuals and households?

Last updated on 2017-07-08 at 11:52