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close this bookRural Energy and Development: Improving Energy Supply for Two Billion People (WB, 1996, 132 p.)
close this folderChapter five - Innovations in renewable energy
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentTechnical progress in using the solar resource
View the documentPolicies toward new renewable energy sources in rural areas
View the documentProgram development
View the documentPrices
View the documentCredit
View the documentTaxes and subsidies

Program development

Establishing a program involves significant effort. The first task is to survey solar and wind resources. Such surveys have long been carried out for hydro programs, as geological and engineering investigations have usually been carried out for many potential sites. and data on river flows have been collected for several decades. but they are rarely available for solar or wind energy In addition. a program of field tests of equipment with a fairly substantial number of consumers (often several thousand households) will be necessary not only to justify the investment in the equipment. but to establish supporting maintenance services and to monitor progress.

As with any new area of investment. issues arise in connection with risks and uncertainties In the field of renewable energy. some of the questions raised are at a quite elementary level For example. some projects designers may not even have assessed the level of solar. wind. and biomass resources. while potential consumers are often not up-to-date on technical developments. costs, and how similar projects elsewhere have performed The predisposition of institutions to resist change is also a factor that widely impedes new investment and initiative

Another major task is to familiarize professionals in the electricity industry engineers. managers. financiers, regulators with the new possibilities Expanded education and training, including visits to operating projects. may help to change negative perceptions and aid the development of investment programs Beyond this. the facilities and curriculums of universities and technical colleges may need to be developed to provide appropriate education and training

The financial requirements needed to develop programs. identify and prepare divestments, and provide education and training are generally small in relation to the costs and benefits of the investments that eventually emerge As with the development of programs using more traditional renewable energy forms, such as micro-hydro schemes. biogasifiers, and sustainable ways of using wood-fuels. the participation of nongovernmental organizations in project development can be beneficial. Bilateral aid organizations and nongovernmental organizations. often working in collaboration. have also been influential in establishing pilot schemes and offering education and training to engineers and technicians from developing countries The many applications of PVs in developing countries owe much to such efforts.