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.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment|
|Early online date||2016|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 2016|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- solar power
- rural communities