A (LED) light at the end of the tunnel

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Light_bulb Close to 75 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans, about 550 million people, do not have access to electricity. Lighting Africa, a conference in Ghana that ended today, is tackling how to mobilize the private sector to supply modern off-grid lighting such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to over more 250 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. This is a timely effort given surging oil prices and the fact that Africa spends about $17 billion on inefficient lighting fuels such as kerosene lamps and paraffin yearly.

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Nachiket Mor
May 15, 2008

We are struggling to find effective off-grid solutions in India for relatively large scale (as well as very small scale)energy problems. Solar seems to have extremely long (8-10 year) pay-back periods relative to diesel. Obviously we are doing something wrong. We need as much help as anybody is willing to offer us.

Rasika Gokhale
June 13, 2008

I would like to point out that there are a couple of reasons for the attractiveness of "diesel-based generation" vis-a-vis "solar" in India; (a) the cost of technology for solar is still very high as compared to that for DG sets which have been in use for quiet a long time, and (b) the Indian Government subsidises diesel (and other petroleum products) to such an extent that people are really unaware of the true cost burden of using such fuels (and that too for electricity generation).

The more broader and acceptable solution could be to extend subsidies for solar generation, thereby nullifying the effect of higher technology costs. The Ministry of Power is seeing to take that path now, by the introduction of feed-in tariffs.