Diffusion of Solar Energy Technologies in Rural Africa: Trends in Kenya and the LUAV Experience in Uganda
The diffusion of Modern Energy Technologies Africa has been found to be very low especially for solar energy systems. The installed solar PV capacity in Africa is a major issue of concern globally. This low trend in technology adoption is of interest because Africa enjoys some of the best solar radiation levels in the world averaging between 4 – 6 kWh/m2/day for most of the year. It was initially speculated that the low uptake of solar technology was associated with the continent’s high poverty levels and limitations in technical capacity as well as awareness; nevertheless, the introduction of Mobile Telephony Technology (MTT) has cast some doubt on those speculations due to the rapid assimilation and diffusion of the technology in several African countries. The paper elaborates on the approach taken by a successful MET business model known as the Lighting-up-a-village (LUAV), designed by an energy company, Barefoot Power (BFP), in Uganda. This model has been used to distribute micro solar home systems in rural Uganda and exhibited a rapid uptake rate that resulted in the establishment of 18 LUAV projects in a span of 12 months. Through the LUAV program, more than 3000 households took up the technology securing their own independent power generation hub. The success factors noted in the LUAV business model were identified and highlighted so as to present recommendations on the key factors that can possibly drive a rapid adoption of METs.
rural electrification; solar energy diffusion; Africa solar potential
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