IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sgc/wpaper/200.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Are we there yet? Improving solar PV economics and power planning in developing countries: The case of Kenya

Author

Abstract

Despite the rapid decline in the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the past five years, even recent academic research suggests that the cost of generating PV electricity remains too high for PV to make a meaningful contribution to the generation of grid electricity in developing countries. This assessment is reflected in the views of policymakers throughout Africa, who often consider PV as a technology suited only to remote locations and small-scale applications. This paper therefore analyzes whether, in contrast to conventional wisdom, PV is already competitive with other generation technologies. Analytically, the paper is based on a levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) model to calculate the cost of PV electricity in Kenya, which serves as a case study. Based on actual technology costs and Kenya’s solar resource, the LCOE from PV is estimated at USD 0.21/kWh for the year 2011, with scenario results ranging from USD 0.17-0.30/kWh. This suggests that the LCOE of grid-connected PV systems may already be below that of the most expensive conventional power plants, i.e. medium-speed diesel generators and gas turbines, which account for a large share of Kenya’s current power mix. This finding implies that researchers and policymakers may be mistaken in perceiving solar PV as a costly niche technology, rather than a feasible option for the expansion of power generation in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Janosch Ondraczek, 2013. "Are we there yet? Improving solar PV economics and power planning in developing countries: The case of Kenya," Working Papers FNU-200, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.
  • Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:200
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/fileadmin/fnu-files/publication/working-papers/Ondraczek_2013_Working-Paper-FNU_200.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peters, Michael & Schmidt, Tobias S. & Wiederkehr, David & Schneider, Malte, 2011. "Shedding light on solar technologies'A techno-economic assessment and its policy implications," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 6422-6439, October.
    2. Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Murray, Siobhan & Wheeler, David, 2011. "The economics of renewable energy expansion in rural Sub-Saharan Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 215-227, January.
    3. Lay, Jann & Ondraczek, Janosch & Stoever, Jana, 2013. "Renewables in the energy transition: Evidence on solar home systems and lighting fuel choice in Kenya," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 350-359.
    4. Rosnes, Orvika & Vennemo, Haakon, 2012. "The cost of providing electricity to Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1318-1328.
    5. 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.
    6. Ondraczek, Janosch, 2013. "The sun rises in the east (of Africa): A comparison of the development and status of solar energy markets in Kenya and Tanzania," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 407-417.
    7. Collier, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 2012. "Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages 75-84.
    8. Branker, K. & Pathak, M.J.M. & Pearce, J.M., 2011. "A review of solar photovoltaic levelized cost of electricity," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(9), pages 4470-4482.
    9. Collier, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 2012. "Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages S75-S84.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ondraczek, Janosch & Komendantova, Nadejda & Patt, Anthony, 2015. "WACC the dog: The effect of financing costs on the levelized cost of solar PV power," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 888-898.
    2. Spiros Papaefthimiou, Manolis Souliotis, and Kostas Andriosopoulos, 2016. "Grid parity of solar energy: imminent fact or future's fiction," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Bollino-M).
    3. Marian Leimbach & Niklas Roming & Gregor Schwerhoff & Anselm Schultes, 2016. "Development perspectives of Sub-Saharan Africa under climate policies," EcoMod2016 9336, EcoMod.
    4. Sommerfeldt, Nelson & Madani, Hatef, 2017. "Revisiting the techno-economic analysis process for building-mounted, grid-connected solar photovoltaic systems: Part one – Review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1379-1393.
    5. Schwerhoff, Gregor & Sy, Mouhamadou, 2017. "Financing renewable energy in Africa – Key challenge of the sustainable development goals," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 393-401.
    6. Lang, Tillmann & Gloerfeld, Erik & Girod, Bastien, 2015. "Don׳t just follow the sun – A global assessment of economic performance for residential building photovoltaics," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 932-951.
    7. Trotter, Philipp A. & McManus, Marcelle C. & Maconachie, Roy, 2017. "Electricity planning and implementation in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 1189-1209.
    8. Tao, Jacqueline Yujia & Finenko, Anton, 2016. "Moving beyond LCOE: impact of various financing methods on PV profitability for SIDS," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 749-758.
    9. Pietzcker, Robert Carl & Stetter, Daniel & Manger, Susanne & Luderer, Gunnar, 2014. "Using the sun to decarbonize the power sector: The economic potential of photovoltaics and concentrating solar power," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 704-720.
    10. Dong, Changgui & Wiser, Ryan, 2013. "The impact of city-level permitting processes on residential photovoltaic installation prices and development times: An empirical analysis of solar systems in California cities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 531-542.
    11. Rômulo de Oliveira Azevêdo & Paulo Rotela Junior & Luiz Célio Souza Rocha & Gianfranco Chicco & Giancarlo Aquila & Rogério Santana Peruchi, 2020. "Identification and Analysis of Impact Factors on the Economic Feasibility of Photovoltaic Energy Investments," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-40, September.
    12. Ondraczek, Janosch, 2013. "The sun rises in the east (of Africa): A comparison of the development and status of solar energy markets in Kenya and Tanzania," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 407-417.
    13. Zhao, Zhen-Yu & Chen, Yu-Long & Thomson, John Douglas, 2017. "Levelized cost of energy modeling for concentrated solar power projects: A China study," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 117-127.
    14. Koumparou, Ioannis & Christoforidis, Georgios C. & Efthymiou, Venizelos & Papagiannis, Grigoris K. & Georghiou, George E., 2017. "Configuring residential PV net-metering policies – A focus on the Mediterranean region," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 795-812.
    15. Kantamneni, Abhilash & Winkler, Richelle & Gauchia, Lucia & Pearce, Joshua M., 2016. "Emerging economic viability of grid defection in a northern climate using solar hybrid systems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 378-389.
    16. Zou, Hongyang & Du, Huibin & Brown, Marilyn A. & Mao, Guozhu, 2017. "Large-scale PV power generation in China: A grid parity and techno-economic analysis," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 256-268.
    17. Espinoza, R. & Muñoz-Cerón, E. & Aguilera, J. & de la Casa, J., 2019. "Feasibility evaluation of residential photovoltaic self-consumption projects in Peru," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 414-427.
    18. Kanyarusoke, Kant E. & Gryzagoridis, Jasson & Oliver, Graeme, 2016. "Re-mapping sub-Sahara Africa for equipment selection to photo electrify energy poor homes," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 240-250.
    19. Zou, Hongyang & Du, Huibin & Ren, Jingzheng & Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Zhang, Yongjie & Mao, Guozhu, 2017. "Market dynamics, innovation, and transition in China's solar photovoltaic (PV) industry: A critical review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 197-206.
    20. Dobrotkova, Zuzana & Surana, Kavita & Audinet, Pierre, 2018. "The price of solar energy: Comparing competitive auctions for utility-scale solar PV in developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 133-148.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    solar photovoltaic electricity; on-grid electricity supply; levelized cost of electricity; developing countries; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C29 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Other
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:200. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Uwe Schneider) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Uwe Schneider to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zmhamde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.