Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

Norplan study: Cost competitiveness of rural electrification solutions

NORPLAN’s recent study, carried out on assignment for NORAD, compares the costs and benefits of various solutions to rural electrification. The study indicates that distributed renewable energy solutions, particularly solar PV, are increasingly more attractive than grid-based solutions.

In the developing world, and especially in Sub-Saharan regions, large areas lack access to the electrical distribution network. Low density, low electricity tariffs and long distances hinder utilities from investing in grid extension to remote rural areas. On behalf of NORAD, NORPLAN is carrying out a series of policy briefs, aimed at contributing with real time understanding of the costs and benefits of electrification, as well as the opportunities and barriers associated with a transition to renewable based mini-grids.

The benefits of electrification are many: lighting benefits, education and communication (radio/TV/internet), health and hygiene (avoided fumes from kerosene lamps and improved medical storage), environmental benefits (avoided fumes and less greenhouse gas emissions), time use, and finally productive uses (local industry and micro enterprise). The overall social economic benefit of electrification is estimated to be around US$ 1.0-1.5 per kWh (WB IEG 2008), which is quite a substantial, and often unrecognized, figure. The study compares these quantified benefits of electrification with up-to-date cost estimations for various electrification technologies.

The study demonstrates that solar PV mini-grid (and off-grid) is cost competitive with fuel generators and an economically viable alternative. The benefits of solar PV off-grid are many. The resource is abundant and locally available, and it is sustainable, clean and emission free. Additionally, there is no need for transmission lines; the energy source is free and predictable with no fluctuating fuel prices. No moving parts make it easy to operate and maintain. The system is flexible and scalable and has a short construction time. Additionally the installation costs have come down considerably over the years and they are projected to be reduced even further.

Yet, the solar PV market in the sub-Saharan region has much room for development before being commercially sustainable. There is a need for qualified personnel and project managers, investors and financial institutions, better infrastructure and a competitive market structure. Falling prices of modules and other equipment combined with a development of the African PV market can considerably reduce the cost of PV on the continent.
More information on the results of the study, including development of installation costs, identified barriers for solar off-grid and cost competiveness of various rural electrification technologies can be found in the reports.

  1. "NORPLAN Study: Cost Competitivness of Rural Electrification Solutions "
  2. "Cost-benefit analysis of rural electrification"
  3. "The potential of solar PV off-grid systems"

Associated companies:


Related news

Latest news

DNV GL launches Operations & Analytics Centre in India to enable 24/7 monitoring for renewable assets globally

The new global monitoring centre is especially significant to independent power providers, 

DNV GL awards AiP to Jiangnan Shipyard for 93K cbm very large ethane carrier design “PANDA E”

The flexible, efficient and environmentally friendly design was developed by Jiangnan Shipyard in cooperation with GTT,

DNV GL starts phase II of project to examine the impact of phase-contamination on oil flow meters

Accurate measurement of the production of oil fields is an important means ...

Important message at the “AKVAculture Day”

We won’t be able to create growth unless we can handle the industry’s challenges.

Visit from the Ministry of Trade Industry and Fisheries

The Ministry visited in order to learn more about the industry. 

Sohome's new 2018 catalogue is out

Sohome has produced a brand new catalogue. 

Servogear propelled ‘Future of The Fjords’ – Ship of the Year at SMM

The world’s largest maritime trade fair, 

Rapid electrification and rise of wind and solar drive massive expansion and automation of power grids, DNV GL finds

The report forecasts continuing rapid electrification, 

DOF Subsea awarded Frame Agreement and several short-term contracts

The Atlantic region has been awarded a Frame Agreement...