The business of distributed solar power: A comparative case study of centralized charging stations and solar microgrids

Anthony L. D'Agostino, Peter D. Lund, Johannes Urpelainen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

How can distributed solar power best meet the energy needs of nonelectrified rural communities? In collaboration with a local technology provider, we conduct a techno-economic comparison of three different models of distributed solar power in rural India. We compare a centralized charging station with two solar microgrids, one based on prepaid electricity purchases and the other on a fixed monthly fee. Customers report higher levels of satisfaction and fewer technical problems with the microgrids, but the capital cost of the microgrids is much higher than that of the centralized charging station. The prepaid system exhibits poor economic performance because the customers spend very little money on electricity. These results suggest that new business models and technological innovations are needed to strike the right balance between customer needs and commercial viability. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment
Volume5
Issue number6
Early online date2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • solar power
  • rural communities

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