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Are promotion programs needed to establish off-grid solar energy markets? Evidence from rural Burkina Faso

Gunther Bensch, Michael Grimm, Maximilian Huppertz, Jörg Langbein and Jörg Peters ()

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2018, vol. 90, issue C, 1060-1068

Abstract: Off-grid solar electric power is a promising technology for remote regions in rural Africa where expansion of the electricity grids is prohibitively expensive. Using household data from a target region of an off-grid solar promotion program in the Kénédougou province in Burkina Faso, this paper explores the role of quality-verified branded solar home systems (SHS) versus non-branded ones. We find that the adoption rate of non-branded SHS is considerably higher at 36% compared to 8% for branded SHS. We compare potential quality differences as well as the cost-effectiveness of branded and non-branded solar products. We show that non-branded SHSs offer a similar service level as branded solar, that they do not fall behind in terms of consumer satisfaction and durability, and that non-branded products are more cost-effective. These findings suggest that promotion programs and branded solar products do not seem to be necessary in Burkina Faso and might also not be needed to establish sustainable off-grid solar markets elsewhere provided that non-branded products are available. The challenge however is to reach the very poor who are unable to bring up investment costs for any electricity.

Keywords: Energy access; Energy poverty; Technology adoption; Branded products; Cost-effectiveness; Rural Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D40 O13 O33 Q41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Are promotion programs needed to establish off-grid solar energy markets? Evidence from rural Burkina Faso (2016) Downloads
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