|Basic Electrification for Rural Households - GTZ's Experience with the Dissemination of Small-Scale Photovoltaic Systems (GTZ, 1992, 28 p.)|
Photovoltaics is already considered to be a viable option for supplying electric power to consumers in remote rural areas and on islands that are far removed from national power grids - especially private households.
However, the dissemination of photovoltaic systems via market mechanisms has proved to be a very complex undertaking. In order for it to work, a wide variety of individual actors at a great many decision-making levels must interact in just the right way. The roles of the individual actors are described in this paper.
In addition to this aspect, which has to do primarily with the design and implementation of energy policy, certain basic prerequisites must be met by the technology itself. In order to tailor the systems to local needs and conditions, an intensive dialogue with the target groups is required. Quality control - including the inspection and certification of locally manufactured components - is also a must. The inhabitants of remote areas will see the purchase of the systems as a way of raising their standard of living and gaining access to modern technology. It is imperative to ensure that they are not used as "Guinea pigs" to test technologies which are not yet technically and economically viable merely because of their low purchasing power.
Finally, it is essential to bear in mind that market-oriented dissemination of photovoltaic systems in rural areas also calls for a rethinking of the financing strategies for such projects. Conventional financing methods involving the provision of bank loans to a small target group that is relatively affluent and thus credit-worthy in the eyes of formal-sector financial institutions are increasingly being supplanted by new approaches which are tailored to the needs of lower-income segments of the population which have so far had few if any dealings with banks.