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Solar Energy

Friday, July 28, 2006

Solar photovoltaic for sustainable agriculture and rural development

B. van Campen, D. Guidi and G. Best
Environment and Natural Resources Working Paper No. 2
76 pp., 21 tables, 10 text boxes, 6 annexes
FAO, Rome, 2000

For more information, contact:
Senior Energy Coordinator
Rural Energy Development Officer


Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have shown their potential in rural electrification projects around the world, especially concerning Solar Home Systems. With continuing price decreases of PV systems, other applications are becoming economically attractive and growing experience is gained with the use of PV in such areas as social and communal services, agriculture and other productive activities, which can have a significant impact on rural development. There is still a lack of information, however, on the potential and limitations of such PV applications.

The main aim of this study is, therefore, to contribute to a better understanding of the potential impact and of the limitations of PV systems on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD), especially concerning income-generating activities. It is, in fact, of paramount importance to identify the potential contribution of PV to rural development in order to gain further financial and political commitment for PV projects and programmes and to design appropriate PV projects.

One of the main lessons learnt through this study is that success of PV programmes is significantly enhanced when an integrated strategy is followed. Solar photovoltaic systems, through their flexibility in use, offer unique chances for the energy sector to provide "packages" of energy services to remote rural areas such as for rural health care, education, communication, agriculture, lighting and water supply. It is hoped that this document contributes to the generation of ideas and discussions among the different institutions involved in providing these services to rural areas and thereby to an "informed" decision on the PV technology option.

Download the Executive Summary
PDF format (13K) | Word97 format (27K)

Download the full document
PDF format (646K) | Word97 zipped format (291K)

Selected hyperlinks to on-line documents related to Solar Photovoltaics for SARD:

  1. AEN, 1997; Australian Energy News, Issue 4, 1997.
  2. Anonymous; The village of Sukatani. Sinar Surya: Solar energy in Indonesia
  3. Anonymous; The village of Lebak. Sinar Surya: Solar Energy in Indonesia
  4. Cecelski, 2000; Enabling equitable access to rural electrification: current thinking and major activities in energy, poverty and gender (Downloadable); Briefing Paper prepared for a Brainstorming Meeting on Asia Alternative Energy Policy and Project Development Support: Emphasis on Poverty Alleviation and Women, Asia Alternative Energy Unit, The World Bank, Washington D.C.
  5. Davis, Stephanie, 1999; Solar sisters flick the switch; in: Renewable Energy World, Vol. 2, No. 3.
  6. DOE-website; Department of Energy, the Philippines.
  7. EDRC 1994-1999: very comprehensive literature and studies on impact of rural and PV electrification (several included in this list); EDRC, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  8. ENERSOL News - winter 1999.
  9. FAO, 1992; Small-scale pumped irrigation: energy and cost; Irrigation water management Training Manual; Rome.
  10. FAO, 1999; van Campen, B.; Desde la base hacia una política de energía renovable y energía rural en Honduras; Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Summary article.
  11. Green, Dr. J. M., 1999; An Audit of Energy Usage (Incl Solar (PV) Systems) in a Non Electrified Rural Area in Kwazulu, South Africa; EDRC.
  12. Hahn, 1998; Hahn, A., Flores Condori C., Schmidt, R.; Photovoltaic water pumps - lessons learned from demonstration and field testing projects supported by GTZ - paper presented at the International Workshop on PV water supply, Marrakech, Morocco.
  13. James, B., 1995; The Impacts of Rural Electrification: exploring the silence (Downloadable); EDRC, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  14. James, B., Rudek, B., 1999; Socioeconomic impacts of rural electrification in Namibia: The impact of electrification on rural health facilities, education and small businesses; EDRC, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  15. MNES, 1999; Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (India): description and statistics of PV programme from web-site.
  16. Mozes D., et al., 1999; Aeration of Fish-ponds by photovoltaic power; Tel Aviv/Munchen.
  17. Müller J., 1998; Internationaler Sach- und Wissenstand zum Thema Photovoltaïsche Bewässerung; Stuttgart.
  18. NBDARD, 1999; Livestock watering systems for pasture (Downloadable); New Brunswick Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; Canada, 1999.
  19. North, M., 1999; A call for smart electrons.
  20. PRESSEA - website; Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources in South East Asia.REPP, 1998;
  21. Renewable Energy Policy Project; Expanding markets for photovoltaics: What to do next?
  22. Sandia, 1998; Highlights of Sandia's Photovoltaic Program; Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  23. Sandia, 1999; Market opportunities in Mexico - Market guidebook of renewable energy applications in Mexico.
  24. Torres, 1998; Torres, E., Sapiain, R., Schmidt, R., Ovalle, R., Torres, A., Ayala, G., Hidalgo, V.; Bombeo solar para nuevas aplicaciones de riego por goteo; Universidad de Tarapacá, Chile.
  25. UPVG, 1994/1995; Utility Photovoltaic Group; UPVG Phase 1 Report and UPVG Phase 2 report; Washington D.C.
  26. Wamukonya, L., Davis M., 1999; Socioeconomic impacts of rural electrification in Namibia: Comparisons between grid, solar and unelectrifiec households; EDRC, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  27. Village Power 1997 - Conference Proceedings; Washington DC.
  28. Village Power '98 - Conference Proceedings; Washington DC.
  29. Winrock/REPSO, 1999; Trade guides for renewable energy Brazil (downloadable), Indonesia, El Salvador.
  30. www.solarsite.net