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close this bookPhotovoltaic Household Electrification Programs - Best Practices (WB)
close this folderThe place for photovoltaics
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe solar home system
View the documentThe cost of solar home systems
View the documentThe solar home system niche
View the documentConsumer perceptions

The solar home system niche

2.8 Household PV electrification is typically suitable for households located in remote unelectrified locations. However, households in "electrified" communities may also be good targets for solar home systems. Many households in "electrified" areas are too far from the grid (200 meters or more), or have too small a load to warrant a connection. In Bali, Indonesia, for example, while 98 percent of the villages are classified as "electrified," only 41 percent of the households are connected. Of the remaining 59 percent of households, many may never receive grid service, given their distance from the grid lines or their location in difficult terrain. PV home systems are a practical and permanent source of electricity for these households. In other areas, households may gain access to grid-based services as electricity demand increases due to a rise in personal and community incomes. Here, solar home systems can still serve as an effective interim measure. When the grid does arrive, the used solar panels can be sold (if the household owns the system), or the utility can transfer them to another location, thereby recovering a sizable portion of the initial cost.

2.9 Rural households that currently use kerosene lamps for lighting and disposable or automotive batteries for operating televisions, radios, and other small appliances comprise the principal market for solar home systems. In Sri Lanka, there are about 300,000 such households (about 10 percent of unelectrified households). Java, Indonesia, has an estimated 1 million such households, or about 12.5 percent of unelectrified households. On average, a single such household uses about 0.5-1 liter of kerosene daily and about 2-16 dry cell batteries per month; automotive batteries are recharged about four times a month at a cost of $1-$2 per recharge and must be replaced every two to three years at a cost of $40-$60. Recurring costs for these households are estimated to range from $10-$30 per month. Solar home systems, at today's prices, are an affordable alternative for such families.