There is a long-standing debate among numerous researchers and policy makers, regarding how they can entrust energy access to deprived rural areas. Since many years, a large chunk of the funding was steered into large-scale infra projects, reckoning the expansion of national electricity grids. Although, grid extensions in urban does not demand severe fund pumping, however executing the same in rural areas asks for a big loaf of bread, and is moreover difficult to maintain.
At the same time, concerns about climate change combined with the decline in solar photovoltaic and battery prices have made solar-powered electricity an attractive investment.
In particular, solar products for instance small portable solar lights have gained the interests of international funding organisation and policy makers. These solar lights and products have next to negligible up-front costs, their maintenance does not demand deep pockets, and do not pose the management problems typically associated with national grids or even mini-grids.
Solar photovoltaic charged products are therefore perceived as a pragmatic solution to address both energy poverty and energy sustainability in the not so distant future. Solar lanterns\ are perfect replacement for kerosene lamps, which are still used by an estimated 500 million households.
The carbon emissions of kerosene lights contribute to global warming, and to severe indoor air pollution. Moreover, kerosene lamps provide low-quality lighting, at around 10 lumens, while for example a standard Solar LED lamp provides around 500 lumens. Therefore, clearly solar LED lights secure an edge above conventional lighting.
Can Off-grid energy be a key to fight poverty?
One additional benefit which poor households can accrue by adapting to solar lights is significant cost savings. These solar lights aren’t connected to any grid, which implies that there won’t be any recurring electricity bills to foot. This will help poor households to enjoy quality lighting, sans the hassles and worries of paying exorbitant power bills.
Therefore, if we mull upon the benefits which solar products, specifically solar lights can entrust to poor households, they actually make a pragmatic and seamless path to light up poor rural areas without any additional expense and infra requisites.