Off-Grid Solar Electrification Sustainability Assessment: A Case Study of SwatJournal: Policy Perspectives (Vol.16, No. 2)
Publication Date: 2019-12-31
Authors : Naila Saleh; Iftikhar Ahmed;
Page : 127-142
Keywords : Renewable Energy; Solar Energy; Sustainability; Energy Transition; Swat;
Access to energy is crucial not only for the well-being of people but also for the socioeconomic development of a region. Today, 46.3 million people in Pakistan lack access to the grid whereas those connected have unreliable and interrupted access to energy supply. However, in the wake of prolonged power outages in rural areas accompanied by coincidental spread of awareness on solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, an interesting shift in terms of energy transition is underway. This study focuses on these undocumented changes taking place in the district of Swat. As success and optimality of any system can be best gauged through user's perception, the study attempts at assessing both the sustainability of the installed off-grid solar systems as well as barriers in their diffusion at a larger scale. Where on one hand the findings reveal strong social acceptance for the solar PV technology among users, on the other hand the study observes limited dependence on the technology where reliance on the conventional energy is still very prevalent for heavy load appliances during running electricity hours. Amongst the non-PV users, a strong desire for installment of PV technology exists. Nevertheless, lack of government support and economic barriers remain major impediments in its adoption. The findings hence underscore significance of supportive policies for augmenting the momentum toward a sustainable energy transition.
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