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2017-12-01 | project

Impacts of Pico-photovoltaic Systems Usage on the Energy Poor – A Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural Rwanda

In recent years, costs of both LED lighting diodes and photovoltaic (PV) systems have decreased substantially. In widely non-electrified rural Africa, this has induced a silent revolution, the market based dissemination of dry-cell battery or solar driven small LED lanterns in rural areas. These devices are in many cases of a very low quality, which might threat the sustainability of these new markets by a loss of trust among customers. The international community has responded to this development by promoting so-called Pico-PV systems that meet sufficient quality standards. Together with ISS, RWI has been assigned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to evaluate the impacts these systems have on households in rural areas. This research set-up allows for two principal research questions to be addressed: First, since the capacity of the Pico-PV system will in most cases not be sufficient to allow full usage of all three energy services – lighting, radio, mobile phone charging – we investigate how people living in absolute energy poverty decide between these three services. Second, the unbiased impact of using a Pico-PV system can be estimated due to the RCT approach. Indicators we examine are energy expenditures, lighting usage, mobile phone usage, and radio usage as well as the knowledge about contraceptive usage, family planning, and malaria prevention, which might be affected through radio information campaigns. The purpose is to check the extent to which the usage and impact results in the RCT can be transferred to “real-world” users.

    Principal investigator

  • Other authors:
    Peters, Jörg