While climate change has led many high-income countries to increase their efforts to improve energy efficiency and to invest in renewable energies, households in low-income countries still face another energy challenge: more than 1 billion people lack access to electricity. Could solar lights offer a solution?
There is an ongoing debate among policy makers, international donors and researchers about how to provide energy access to poor rural areas. For many years, most funding was flowing into large-scale infrastructure projects to expand national electricity grids. However, grid extensions to remote and poor areas are expensive and 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