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The Energy Lock-In Effect of Solar Home Systems: A Case Study in Rural Nigeria

Olumide Hassan (), Stephen Morse () and Matthew Leach ()
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Olumide Hassan: Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
Stephen Morse: Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
Matthew Leach: Centre for Environment and Sustainability, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK

Energies, 2020, vol. 13, issue 24, 1-24

Abstract: Ongoing reductions in the costs of solar PV and battery technologies have contributed to an increased use of home energy systems in Sub-Saharan African regions without grid access. However, such systems can normally support only low-power end uses, and there has been little research regarding the impact on households unable to transition to higher-wattage energy services in the continued absence of the grid. This paper examines the challenges facing rural energy transitions and whether households feel they are energy ‘locked in’. A mixed-methods approach using questionnaire-based household energy surveys of rural solar home system (SHS) users was used to collect qualitative and quantitative data. Thematic analysis and a mixture of descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were applied. The results showed that a significant number of households possessed appliances that could not be powered by their SHS and were willing to spend large sums to connect were a higher-capacity option available. This implied that a significant number of the households were locked into a low-energy future. Swarm electrification technology and energy efficient, DC-powered plug-and-play appliances were suggested as means to move the households to higher tiers of electricity access.

Keywords: solar home systems; rural households; energy transitions; energy access (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q4 Q40 Q41 Q42 Q43 Q47 Q48 Q49 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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