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close this bookPhotovoltaic Household Electrification Programs - Best Practices (WB)
close this folderBest practices: conclusions and recommendations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOvercome the first cost barrier
View the documentEstablish a sustainable infrastructure
View the documentQuality products and services
View the documentGovernment support
View the documentDonor support

Quality products and services

8.11 Sustainable PV household electrification requires satisfactory performance, guaranteed by quality products, uniform standards as well as attention to battery replacement/recycling and customer education.

8.12 PV Standards. Governments and standard-setting agencies should establish performance standards for solar home systems or require that modules, controllers, other electronic components, and batteries meet internationally recognized performance standards. All standards should be consistent with the level of reliability and performance users expect, and all should be strictly enforced.

8.13 Quality Control. Solar home systems should be designed to meet customers' expectations (subject to ability to pay) and use only quality components. Assembly and installation procedures need to be standardized and modifications and additions made only by qualified technicians. Performance warranties for modules, controllers, other electronic components, batteries, and, if possible, the system itself so as to ensure optimum performance. If consumers in solar home system programs have limited capacities to pay, technical quality should not be compromised in the interest of reducing costs. These customers should be offered small but high-quality systems.

8.14 Battery Recycling. PV modules and deep-cycle or automotive batteries are the most costly components of the solar home system. While the average life of a module is more than ten years, automotive batteries may fail within three. Battery recycling both reduces costs and is environmentally sound. However, unless appropriate arrangements or incentives are in place to collect used batteries, consumers are unlikely to assume individual responsibility for battery recycling.

8.15 Consumer Education. Users must understand and be prepared to accept the level of service a given solar home system will provide. This understanding is the key to effective solar home system programs. Customer satisfaction is a prerequisite for effective cost recovery and increased sales.