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The benefits of energy appliances in the off-grid energy sector based on seven off-grid initiatives in rural Uganda

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Hirmer, SA 


The aim of this paper is to build on the existing knowledge of the benefits of energy appliances for the off-grid energy market. Rural electrification schemes often focus on generating power for electric lighting and, more recently, phone charging. The purpose of this study, however, is to identify the benefits of an array of energy appliances (other than lighting) that rural electrification initiatives rarely take into account. From the literature review, and the user-perceived benefits identified through a ‘User-Perceived Value Game’ conducted in 119 interview settings, it is found that the top-ranked benefits pertaining to energy appliances are business opportunity, elimination of labour intensive tasks, preservation of health, protection from people posing a threat (personal security), operational expenditure, ability to acquire knowledge, feeling comfortable, food security, information access, time savings and productivity improvement. Of these, the benefits pertaining to energy appliances, as perceived by the beneficiaries whose values are often overlooked by the project implementers, are identified and include comfort, security and food security. Furthermore, the study gives a brief account of the user-perceived benefits of modern energy sources (e.g. solar home systems, solar lanterns and generators). Where possible, reference is made to the traditional energy alternatives (e.g. candles), revealing the reasons why villagers sometimes preferred traditional energy sources to more modern ones.



Energy appliances, Rural electrification, Energy source, User-perceived value, Uganda, Development projects

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Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

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Elsevier BV
EPSRC (1260205)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K503009/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (Grant No. EP/K503009/1) and Qualcomm European Research Studentships in Technology (Grant No. 1068).