Project Watch: Shining a light on solar power demand

Localised solar power is often touted as a solution to Africa’s unmet energy needs, enabling communities to leapfrog large-scale electricity transmission networks that are expensive to build and maintain (in addition to often being unreliable in many areas) in a manner analogous to how mobile phone networks have superseded fixed-line telephony across much of the continent.

Sagaci Research was recently commissioned to conduct a survey in order to assess the potential demand for home-based solar energy systems in two West African countries. A survey of 800 consumers asked about whether their homes were connected to the electricity grid and their perception of the grid’s reliability, and, if they were not connected, the alternative power sources they used. It also examined their level of interest in using solar power at home, their perceptions of its pros and cons and how much they would be prepared to pay for it, in addition to their preferred method of payment.