The paper compares the development impact of three different sized solar home systems (SHS) (10, 40 and 80 Wp) installed in rural East Timor. It describes research aimed to determine whether the higher cost of the larger systems was justified by additional household benefits. To assess the development impact of these different sizes of SHS the research used a combination of participatory and quantitative tools. Participatory exercises were conducted with seventy-seven small groups of SHS users in twenty-four rural communities and supplemented with a household survey of 195 SHS users.
The combined results of these evaluation processes enabled the three sizes of SHS to be compared for two types of benefits—those associated with carrying out important household tasks and attributes of SHS which were advantageous compared to the use of non-electric lighting sources. The research findings showed that the small, 10 Wp SHS provided much of the development impact of the larger systems. It suggests three significant implications for the design of SHS programs in contexts such as East Timor: provide more small systems rather than fewer large ones; provide lighting in the kitchen wherever possible; and carefully match SHS operating costs to the incomes of rural users.
Field of Research
120399 Design Practice and Management not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
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