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Surge in Solar-Powered Homes: Experience in Off-grid Rural Bangladesh

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Shahidur R. Khandker, Hussain A. Samad, Zubair K. M. Sadeque, Mohammed Asaduzzaman, Mohammad Yunus, A. K. Enamul Haque
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This book’s broad aim is twofold: to assess the welfare impact of SHS on households and to evaluate the present institutional structure and financing mechanisms in place. The study behind the publication entailed an intensive empirical investigation based on both primary and secondary data. The primary data consisted mainly of a large-scale, nationally representative household survey with appropriate geographic spread. Conducted in 2012 by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) and assisted by the World Bank, the household survey was designed to examine SHS benefits and costs. The book addresses several research issues, which are grouped according to general and gendered household impact, program delivery and monitoring of technical standards, market size and demand, and carbon emissions reduction. The book also analyzes household uses of solar-electric energy services. Finally, the book evaluates the gender-disaggregated benefits and women's empowerment from SHS adoption. Its findings show that better household lighting improves household welfare both directly and indirectly. The book has eight chapters. After an introductory chapter, Chapter 2 describes the status of Bangladesh's SHS expansion program, including salient features of system operation, as well as program delivery and financing. Chapter 3 reviews the role of electrification in rural development and international experience in using SHS as a complementary solution in remote off-grid areas. Based on the survey data findings, Chapter 4 identifies the major drivers of SHS adoption and system capacity selection at the household and village levels, while Chapter 5 discusses and estimates the welfare benefits. Chapter 6 focuses on SHS market analysis and role of the subsidy, including consumers' willingness to pay and the potential impact of subsidy phase-out. Chapter 7 turns to the quality of partner organization service and other supply-side issues, along with market constraints to meet future demand. Finally, Chapter 8 offers policy perspectives and a way forward.