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

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

No 653, Ruhr Economic Papers from RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen

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 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 percent compared to eight percent for branded SHS. We compare potential quality differences as well as the cost-effectiveness of branded and non-branded solar. We show that non-branded SHSs provide 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 might not be needed to establish sustainable off-grid solar markets. 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)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene
Date: 2016
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Journal Article: Are promotion programs needed to establish off-grid solar energy markets? Evidence from rural Burkina Faso (2018) Downloads
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