Making infrastructure work for the poor: Development benefits of PV systems in two Bangladesh communities
AbstractBangladesh has been suffering from acute shortages of energy and the gap between demand and supply of energy has been gradually increasing. As the country has very limited natural resources, except natural gas, it largely depends on imported fuel. But due to financial and technical inability, it is almost impossible for Bangladesh to extend fossil fuel based power distribution networks to the rural community. Moreover, the low purchasing power is also a limiting factor for the rural population to have access to the formal energy market. As a result, rural society is in a most vulnerable situation from the side of energy consumption. Against this background, this study aims to examine the link between energy and economic development by collecting primary data from two Bangladesh communities which use solar energy. The study made an attempt to find out the economic and social impacts of sustainable rural energy on poor people and governance and management of these infrastructure projects. The study found that providing electricity through solar energy has a multidimensional affect on rural livelihood. It not only improves the living standard of the rural people but also improves access to information, better health for women and children and an extension of indoor income generating activities. However, poor maintenance, lack of technical knowledge, and training hampered the operation and repairing functions of solar energy technology in the rural community. For improving effective management of solar energy technologies, there is a need to increase end user awareness of system use, end-user capacity to troubleshoot problems, and level of service, quality and timeliness of repairs. The local government should come forward to increase awareness among beneficiaries and ensure the effective functioning of these systems.
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