The intent of this practicum was to understand the role that solar PV plays in the process of rural electrification, what barriers exist in the PV market, and how the Rural Electrification Agency is bringing down those barriers. Moreover, I sought to understand the development impact that solar PV has in rural areas and how people in those regions are using it, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid. Additionally, I sought to understand if PV is a financially viable option for the rural poor or if it is only obtainable by the rural upper and middle class. Also, though it is not necessarily related to PV, I sought to gain insight into and experience in the professional world in Uganda.
Consequently I did internship with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in the ERT program, specifically with the solar PV department. While at REA, I interviewed people from many different departments in order to understand the context of RE that PV is operating in. I also took part in an end-user audit induction, and worked with a team of end user auditors on an audit journey to the West Nile region. Additionally, as part of my internship, I sat in on meetings, looked over previous audit reports and reviewed many REA documents.
Through my study I discovered that PV plays a subsidiary role in the process of RE. I also discovered that the subsidy program for solar PV being run by REA has been largely ineffective at meeting the goals set before it. Likewise, it has struggled to reach people at the bottom of the pyramid and caters mostly to the rural upper and middle classes, as the systems advanced by REA are often not marketed well and too expensive for the rural poor.
Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Growth and Development | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Science and Technology Studies | Sustainability
Piggins, Matt, "Powering Rural Transformation: Solar PV in Rural Uganda." (2014). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 1781.