Mutua, John and Peter Kimuyu. 2015. “Exploring the Odds for Actual and Desired Adoption of Solar Energy in Kenya.” EfD Discussion Paper Series 14-15.
Although Kenya enjoys a high and widespread daily solar insolation, and despite enactment of policies to promote adoption of renewable energy technologies, not many households have picked up solar technologies. The objective of this study is to find out the incidence and predictors of actual up-take of solar technology as well as households’ desire to switch to solar in light of their perception of its cost advantage. We find that the main predictors of the odds for installation of solar panels include household prosperity, for which total household expenditure is an indicator. Formal employment by the head of household is also crucial in increasing the odds for both actual adoption and an interest in switching to solar energy. Our results suggest that initial solar adoption requires a higher socioeconomic threshold than subsequent interest in switching after the benefits of solar energy become evident. More generally, the results suggest that anti-poverty policies, including those that promote expansion of formal employment opportunities, will increase the use of cleaner and more convenient forms of energy, such as solar energy.