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The enabling environment for household solar adoption: A systematic review

Hannah Girardeau, Alicia Oberholzer and Subhrendu Pattanayak

World Development Perspectives, 2021, vol. 21, issue C

Abstract: The sheer scope of the global energy poverty challenge has motivated many organizations to promote off-grid solar energy for lighting, heating, and cooking needs around the world. However, the design and implementation of projects depends on the enabling environment - a constellation of financial, market, program, and regulatory factors. We conducted a systematic review to examine which elements of the enabling environment drove or blocked the adoption of solar products such as, home systems, lanterns, hot water heaters, and cooking products in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). Specifically, we identified 59 studies in 29 countries that consider different features of the enabling environment and found the following empirical regularities. First, at the household level, cost, therefore subsidies, and product quality matter. Second, at the program level, customer support and ongoing maintenance influence sustained use. Third, at the government scale, design standards and regulations affect adoption. However, clear gaps emerge in what scholars have studied; for example, we found no empirical literature on e-wastes or demand by energy-access tiers. Nonetheless, the experiences documented in this review show that a complex and interconnected system of market, program, financial, and regulatory challenges must be addressed to provide solar technologies to the rural energy poor.

Keywords: Energy access; Solar; Enabling environment; Finance; Subsidies; Market development; Programs; Regulations (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100290

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