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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Appliance Ownership and Aspirations among Electric Grid and Home Solar Households in Rural Kenya

  • Author(s): Lee, Kenneth;
  • Miguel, Edward;
  • Wolfram, Catherine
  • et al.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are active debates about whether increases in energy access should be driven by investments in electric grid infrastructure or small-scale “home solar” systems (e.g., solar lanterns and solar home systems). We summarize the results of a household electrical appliance survey and describe how households in rural Kenya differ in terms of appliance ownership and aspirations. Our data suggest that home solar is not a substitute for grid power. Furthermore, the environmental advantages of home solar are likely to be relatively small in countries like Kenya, where grid power is primarily derived from non-fossil fuel sources.

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