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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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A community based approach for sustainable off-grid PV systems in developing countries

Frame, D. and Tembo, K. and Dolan, M. J. and Strachan, S. M. and Ault, G. W. (2011) A community based approach for sustainable off-grid PV systems in developing countries. In: 2011 IEEE power and energy society general meeting. IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting PESGM . IEEE, New York. ISBN 9781457710018

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Abstract

The energy requirements of developing countries underpin progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Rural electrification is acknowledged as key to providing a source of reliable, affordable and sustainable energy. Many planners and decision makers agree that the off-grid PV system has the potential to become a valued and straightforward source of electricity for remote rural communities. However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed to realize the potential of PV as a sustainable solution. These challenges are illustrated and highlighted by many reported cases of poor sustainability/longevity of PV installation in sub-Saharan Africa. This paper reviews the sustainability of off-grid renewable energy deployments in sub-Saharan Africa along with recent attempts to define sustainable energy frameworks. The specific case of off-grid PV systems for improved educational and health facilities are considered and a community based approach for improved sustainability is proposed. Case studies illustrating practical implementation of this approach in Gambia and Malawi are described.