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Exploring the potential of solar nano-grids in developing countries
- Communal solar power systems could make clean energy available to millions of people
Clean power generation can address issues of health, poverty and education – but its role in complex socio-cultural contexts is not entirely clear.
Loughborough researchers are working in partnership with the United International University (Bangladesh) and not-for-profit INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE to explore how sustainable energy could transform millions of lives in the developing world.
Since 1996, many rural communities in Bangladesh and Kenya have benefitted from solar home systems – both in terms of energy generation and reduced air pollution. However, the units are too expensive for many households to afford and whilst they have beneficial health and security benefits, their ability to offer improved livelihoods and economic opportunities are limited.
To this end, the researchers are exploring whether solar nano-grids (SONG) are a more viable alternative.
SONG are very small-scale communal solar power systems – significantly smaller than the whole community mini-grids being developed elsewhere – comprising a solar power unit connected to a cluster of several homes.
The research studies energy use in the diverse rural communities of Bangladesh and Kenya – analysing the cost, benefits and efficiency of SONG via in-depth community consultation processes in both countries.
The findings will be made available to researchers and policy-makers alike to inform future sustainable energy planning.
Communal solar power systems could make clean energy available to millions of people – revolutionising their quality of life and economic opportunities.
INFLUENCING POLICY AND PRACTICE
The research findings will inform social policy and planning across the developing world.