The impact of off-grid solar home systems in Kenya on energy consumption and expenditures

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This paper assesses the impact of solar home systems (SHS) on energy consumption and energy-related expenditures among Kenyan households. Based on a pipeline comparison approach of more than a thousand households, we find that access to a SHS leads to a net increase of 24 to 36 min in daily lighting use due to a 3 h increase in the use of LED lamps, accompanied by a reduction in the use of “dirty” lamps. We also find a one litre reduction in the monthly use of kerosene for lighting. These changes in energy use along with a decline in the cost of charging mobile phones leads to a reduction in overall monthly expenditure of KSh 193 (about EUR 1.60). For the most popular SHS, these economic effects translate into a payback period of about six years. In addition to the economic benefits, we find small positive environmental effects, increased satisfaction from better quality lighting and an increase in time spent watching TV. Setting the costs against the combined benefits of SHS suggests a positive payoff for this particular off-grid electricity option and a viable way forward in providing off-grid energy solutions with a wide range of functionalities in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105314
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Economics
Early online date11 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data for this research were collected as part of an impact evaluation commissioned by FMO, the Dutch Development Bank. The authors are grateful to FMO for the facilitation of this research and to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the financial contribution. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of FMO or its collaborators, or of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors

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