The intent of this study 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 solar PV’s development impact in rural areas and how people in rural regions of Uganda are using the technology, especially those at the bottom of the economic 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.
Consequently, I interned with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in the ERT program, specifically with the solar PV department. While at REA, I interviewed people from many departments in order to understand the bigger picture of RE and what role PV plays in the process. 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 REA policy documents.
I discovered that PV plays a subsidiary role in the process of RE. I also discovered that the subsidy program for solar PV run by REA has been largely ineffective at meeting its goals. Likewise, PV has struggled to reach people at the bottom of the pyramid and caters mostly to the rural upper and middle classes. The systems advanced by REA are often not well marketed and are 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.