Investigation of productive use by solar PVs in rural Tanzania
Abstract: This master thesis investigates and assesses the productive use and spread of solar PV (photovoltaic) systems among rural SMEs (small and medium enterprises) in two rural regions in Tanzania. It also analyzes sustainability aspects of productive solar PV usage and the future prospects for this type of activities. As the situation is today there is a lack of electricity in a major part of the country and there is a big need for rural electrification. In recent years there has been a lot of effort and money put into the solar PV industry in order to achieve a higher quality of life for the rural poor. One of the goals except for producing electricity, has been to achieve a self-sustaining market where solar PV are used for generate income in rural areas, i.e. productive use of solar PVs. The aim of this report is to, by a case study, map to which extent there is a productive use of solar PV and what type of businesses that has evolved. Moreover, the features of these businesses have been investigated in order to predict future prospects and diffusion for these types of activities. In addition, the research has comprised a sustainable development approach in order to investigate how and if productive use of solar PVs fit into the norms of sustainability on an economic, social and environmental level.It was found that, within the two investigated areas, there was an extensive use of solar PVs for productive use. The most common type of business was cell phone charging business, followed by barber shops cutting hair. Other businesses that were found were TV-shows, cold beverage sales and light equipped hostels.The prospects for further diffusion of solar PVs seems to be good, mainly because of the short payback times encountered, but also due to appropriate actions on a governmental level that has resulted in acceptance and awareness among the inhabitants. In addition, people saved money and time switching from other energy sources such as generator to Solar PVs because of low running costs.Concerning the sustainability issues, solar PVs for productive use definitely is a step towards a sustainable development, particularly on a local level. On a larger level, PVs alone might not be the sole solution but is still of importance. However, there are some improvements that can be done such as a more effective usage of batteries and implementation of recycling stations for used batteries in order to decrease the environmental load.During the initial phase of the project literature studies were performed in order to gain as much knowledge as possible within the subject of solar PVs for productive use and also aiming to be prepared for a working in a completely different environment and culture. On site, interviews with businessmen and other for the study important people were conducted. The gathered information from the interviews was then analyzed and evaluated in order to be able to draw appropriate conclusions.
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