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LESSONS:

Sustainable Rural Electrification

| country: Bhutan

The provision of free house wiring kits under the Project to some customers and not others has been unsuccessful for two reasons: because (i) the limited design capacity of these kits is seen as a barrier to possible future increases in a household’s electricity consumption, and (ii) many beneficiaries do not like to be identified as poor and in need of charity. It is necessary to examine more socially acceptable mechanisms for helping poor households install internal house wiring before electricity can be supplied. One approach being studied under an advisory technical assistance (ADTA) project is the provision of low-interest loans, which would be repaid in installments as part of a consumer’s electricity account following energization.

A grid connection is now available, and some of the solar systems installed under the Project have consequently been relocated, but their present location is not known. Any projects that include the provision of photovoltaic lighting systems should be designed so that (i) appropriate beneficiaries are targeted, (ii) installation activities are recorded and monitored to ensure that the systems are correctly installed and operational at the end of the project, and (iii) processes are designed and implemented to ensure that the project is sustainable and that systems are properly maintained over time. The ongoing ADTA is also developing a process for ensuring sustainable photovoltaic installations. The Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing, during the 10th Five-Year Plan, to revisit 4,000 photovoltaic systems installed under previous aid programs. If this proposal is accepted, the revisited systems, which could include those installed under the Project, will be refurbished and returned to full working order.

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