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Eindhoven University of Technology (2018)

Buying into the Kenyan solar market : exploring user perspectives on investing in solar electricity

Hoefsloot, E. M.

Titre : Buying into the Kenyan solar market : exploring user perspectives on investing in solar electricity

Auteur : Hoefsloot, E. M.

Université de soutenance : Eindhoven University of Technology

Grade : Master of Science In : Innovation Sciences 2018

Présentation
By conducting an inductive exploratory research based on literature reviews and ethnographic fieldwork I will answer the following research question : Which perspectives do people living in rural households in western Kenya have on investing in access to electricity, and how do these perspectives compare to the prominent perspectives held by scholars and practitioners in the field of rural electrification ? The answers to this question provide insight into the experience of unelectrified households and electricity users in western Kenya, and the current ability of actors involved in the development of rural electrification in Kenya to address the perspectives of users. The resulting conclusions of this research can inform the efforts of other actors in the field rural electrification. For my fieldwork, I contacted a company called SolarNow. SolarNow is a “for-profit social business” (SolarNow 2017) which aims to increase rural electrification through the provision of solar home systems. In preparation of their planned expansion to one of the countries neighbouring Uganda, SolarNow asked me to travel to Kenya to study the market for solar home systems. This gave me the opportunity to gather empirical data about the user views on investing in electricity. Energy poverty, rural electrification, and access to electricity in Kenya Energy poverty, or “the absence of sufficient choice in accessing adequate, affordable, reliable, high-quality, safe and environmentally benign energy services to support economic and human development” (A. Reddy 2000, p. 44), is a problematic issue which strongly impacts the quality of life of the rural poor. Many of my respondents have to deal with the consequences of energy poverty on a daily basis, and energy poverty is the issue which SolarNow is ultimately trying to solve by increasing rural electrification rates. Electricity is a versatile, cheap, and safe energy carrier which offers a wide range of energy services. Access to electricity can resolve many of the issues associated with energy poverty, and opens up new avenues for household productivity

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