DEVELOPING COUNTRIES EXPERIENCE
source: Worldwatch Institute,
‘Vital signs 2001- The trends that are
shaping our future’, 2001.
Solar energy remains a rich-man’s power source:
- in 1999, only about 45 MWs - less than 1/4 of the world’s production - was installed in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
- However, in some developing countries, government subsidies & low-interest loans or lease plans are among the strategies that have proved effective in spreading PVs: around the world, 400 million households live without electricity, obtaining their evening light from kerosene lanterns or batteries. Where micro-credit schemes exist, the cost of purchasing a small 50 watt solar panel is the same as buying kerosene, and the US-based Solar Electric Light Fund works in many countries to encourage their installation. India is the third largest producer of solar cells after Japan and the US, and by 2000 had installed 500,000 small solar systems (58 MW).
- There are around 120,000 solar home power systems in Kenya, more than 150,000 in China, 80,000 in Morocco, and 60,000 in Indonesia.
- In South Africa, the planned installation of 350,000 solar home systems is a central part of the country’s post-apartheid effort to provide electricity in rural areas. In 1999, President Nelson Mandela helped launch a program in the Eastern Cape to install 50,000 50-watt systems, charging villagers US$30 for installation and a US$8 monthly service fee.
- Over 400,000 residents of the Philippines will benefit from a deal signed in March 2001 between BP and the Spanish and Philippine governments to bring solar power to 150 isolated villages. Led by the Philippines’ Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the $48 million contract – the largest solar energy project ever – is being financed by the Spanish government.
* MWs: megawatts.