ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Misplaced Emphasis

Solar Energy for Rural Electricity in India

The urban-rural divide in developing countries is reinforced by unequal distribution of resources and amenities. Energy as a resource and electricity as an amenity are no exceptions. In this context, this paper questions the relevance of promoting solar photovoltaic systems for lighting in rural areas. It asserts that the basic electricity needs of rural areas are no different from urban ones, and there is a willingness to pay for reliable supply of electricity. Studies show that solar PV's failure in villages is primarily due to glitches in maintenance, arising from lack of money, materials, and skilled humanpower. The answer would be to give these systems an urban focus, bringing in a more balanced use of solar energy for electrification.

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