| Photo-voltaic applications in rural areas of the developing world |
The cost of PV systems continues to fall. At the same time, experience is being rapidly gained in their practical use in the developing world. It is now clear they are going to play an increasing part in the provision of electrical services in the rural and pert-urban areas of many developing countries. But the limitations and problems of the
technology must also be recognized. PVs are not a solution that can be applied universally throughout the developing world. Programs for their dissemination need to be firmly based on economic and technical reality.
This report examines the rural energy context within which PV programs must fit. The first chapter reviews the present position of PV technology and briefly describes the kits and systems commercially available for use in the rural areas of the developing world. The second chapter examines the rural energy background, describing how people manage to meet their energy needs across the huge areas of the developing world that remain untouched by conventional rural electrification programs. The next chapter looks at conventional rural electrification programs, their merits, and their inevitably limited scope. The fourth chapter looks at the potential niches for PVs, and how they compare in cost and level of service with their competition. A brief review of PV experience to date and the lessons learned is given in the fifth chapter, and the final chapter looks at the role of governments and funding agencies.
In the rapidly moving world of PV technology, there are still no rigid or readymade guidelines for energy planners and program designers. This report provides the necessary background information and highlights the questions that must be asked and the calculations that must be made whenever PV applications are being considered in the developing world.