Are we there yet? Improving solar PV economics and power planning in developing countries: The case of Kenya
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.
|Date of creation:||18 Apr 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Bundesstrasse 55, 20146 Hamburg|
Phone: +49 40 42838 6593
Fax: +49 40 42838 7009
Web page: http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:oxf:wpaper:wps/2012-06 is not listed on IDEAS
- Paul Collier & Anthony J. Venables, 2012.
"Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect,"
CSAE Working Paper Series
2012-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Collier, Paul & Venables, Anthony J., 2012. "Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages S75-S84.
- Paul Collier & Anthony J Venables, 2012. "Greening Africa? Technologies, endowments and the latecomer effect," OxCarre Working Papers 089, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
- Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Murray, Siobhan & Wheeler, David, 2011.
"The economics of renewable energy expansion in rural Sub-Saharan Africa,"
Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 215-227, January.
- Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Murray, Siobhan & Wheeler, David, 2010. "The economics of renewable energy expansion in rural Sub-Saharan Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5193, The World Bank.
- Lay, Jann & Ondraczek, Janosch & Stoever, Jana, 2013.
"Renewables in the energy transition: Evidence on solar home systems and lighting fuel choice in Kenya,"
Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 350-359.
- Janosch Ondraczek & Jann Lay & Jana Stoever, 2012. "Renewables in the energy transition - Evidence on solar home systems and lighting fuel choice in Kenya," Working Papers FNU-198, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University.
- Lay, Jann & Ondraczek, Janosch & Stöver, Jana, 2012. "Renewables in the energy transition: Evidence on solar home systems and lighting fuel choice in Kenya," HWWI Research Papers 121, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
- Jann Lay & Janosch Ondraczek & Jana Stoever, 2012. "Renewables in the Energy Transition: Evidence on Solar Home Systems and Lighting-Fuel Choice in Kenya," GIGA Working Paper Series 198, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
- Hamilton, Kirk & Stover, Jana, 2012. "Economic analysis of projects in a greenhouse world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6117, The World Bank.
- Rosnes, Orvika & Vennemo, Haakon, 2012. "The cost of providing electricity to Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1318-1328.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.