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Off-grid Solar PV: Is it an affordable or an appropriate solution for rural electrification in sub-Saharan African countries?

Author

Listed:
  • Glenn P. Jenkins

    () (Queen’s University, Canada and Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus)

  • Saule Baurzhan

    () (Eastern Mediterranean University, North Cyprus)

Abstract

In this paper the feasibility of off-grid solar PV systems in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA) is analysed focusing on five major issues in the context of falling system costs: cost-effectiveness, affordability, financing, environmental impact, and poverty alleviation. Solar PV systems are found to be an extremely costly source of electricity for the rural poor in SSA. It is estimated that it will take at least 16.8 years for solar PV systems to become competitive with small diesel generators. The cost of reducing CO2 emissions through solar PV electrification is far in excess of the estimated marginal economic cost of CO2.

Suggested Citation

  • Glenn P. Jenkins & Saule Baurzhan, 2014. "Off-grid Solar PV: Is it an affordable or an appropriate solution for rural electrification in sub-Saharan African countries?," Development Discussion Papers 2014-07, JDI Executive Programs.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:dpaper:269
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eberhard, Anton & Shkaratan, Maria, 2012. "Powering Africa: Meeting the financing and reform challenges," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 9-18.
    2. Foster, Vivien & Steinbuks, Jevgenijs, 2009. "Paying the price for unreliable power supplies : in-house generation of electricity by firms in Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4913, The World Bank.
    3. Karekezi, Stephen & Kithyoma, Waeni, 2002. "Renewable energy strategies for rural Africa: is a PV-led renewable energy strategy the right approach for providing modern energy to the rural poor of sub-Saharan Africa?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(11-12), pages 1071-1086, September.
    4. Michael Greenstone & Elizabeth Kopits & Ann Wolverton, 2011. "Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon for Use in U.S. Federal Rulemakings: A Summary and Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 16913, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mulugetta, Yacob & Nhete, Tinashe & Jackson, Tim, 2000. "Photovoltaics in Zimbabwe: lessons from the GEF Solar project," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(14), pages 1069-1080, November.
    6. Bazilian, Morgan & Onyeji, Ijeoma & Liebreich, Michael & MacGill, Ian & Chase, Jennifer & Shah, Jigar & Gielen, Dolf & Arent, Doug & Landfear, Doug & Zhengrong, Shi, 2013. "Re-considering the economics of photovoltaic power," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 329-338.
    7. Wamukonya, Njeri, 2007. "Solar home system electrification as a viable technology option for Africa's development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 6-14, January.
    8. Anton Eberhard & Vivien Foster & Cecilia Briceño-Garmendia & Fatimata Ouedraogo & Daniel Camos & Maria Shkaratan, 2008. "Underpowered : The State of the Power Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7833, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Solar PV; rural electrification; sub-Saharan Africa; affordability; CO2 emissions;

    JEL classification:

    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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