Solar PV for Rural Electricity: A Misplaced Emphasis for Mitigating Climate Change

Hippu Salk Kristle Nathan, National Institute of Advanced Studies

The urban-rural divide in developing economies is a well-known. This inequity is reinforced with unequal distribution of resources and amenities. Energy as a resource and electricity as an amenity are no exception. There exists urban-rural difference in electricity access both in quantity and quality. In this context, this paper evaluates the policy emphasis of solar PV for lighting in rural areas. Do these policies mitigate the rural-urban disparities in electriicty or aggravate it? Is it fair to thrust uncertain, unaffordable systems requiring skilled manpower to rural households and continue to feed urbanites with conventional, convenient and cheaply produced power? Isn’t the burden of climate change disproportionately put on rural families? This paper attempts to build a case against the misplaced emphasis of prioritizing solar PV in rural areas. Finally, the study advocates for focusing urban areas under solar PV as rural electrification would benefit indirectly from such a strategy.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment