Limited Contribution of Photovoltaic Energy Technology to Economic Development of Sub-Saharan Africa

in Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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Abstract

This paper argues that the cost of solar PV system is beyond the reach of most rural poor households in sub-Saharan Africa. The other disadvantage of PV technology is limited power output. PV technology is unsuitable for agro-processing activities that represent the most attractive options for generating incomes in sub-Saharan Africa. Agro-processing activities require equipment with average power output of not less than 1000 W. A PV system of 1000 W is suggested as being too costly for most rural homes, based on the current silicon technologies. The paper concludes by suggesting that sub-Saharan Africa urgently needs alternative energy technologies that can meet the overall energy requirements of the region and promote economic development in the rural areas. Alternative approaches are also suggested to improve the effectiveness of PV technology in providing the energy needs in sub-Saharan Africa in the short, medium and long term.

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