Using solar technologies to increase household satisfaction with power supply

Access to daily hours of grid electricity is strongly associated with people’s subjective satisfaction with power supply. But users of off-grid solar power are less sensitive to the number of hours available. Where grid electricity is unavailable or unreliable, technologies such as solar home systems offer an alternative that rural households value. Subjective satisfaction with electricity access plays a key role in driving demand for off-grid technologies, which are becoming increasingly important in rural electrification efforts. However, the issue has been relatively unstudied. Using the 2014-2015 ACCESS survey conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water in collaboration with Columbia University and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, in six energy-poor states in India (Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal) examine levels of satisfaction across technologies and investigate patterns of subjective satisfaction as they relate to average daily hours of electricity usage across users of different technologies. Findings confirm there is a robust association of electricity hours and satisfaction. The association is stronger among users of grid electricity and weaker for those who rely on off-grid technologies, especially solar home systems.

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