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Rob Byrne: Energy transitions in low-income countries: Learning to articulate solar home system niches in Kenya and Tanzania
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Rob Byrne: Energy transitions in low-income countries: Learning to articulate solar home system niches in Kenya and Tanzania


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Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice …

Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice

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  • 1. Energy transitions in low-income countries Learning to articulate solar home system niches in Kenya and Tanzania STEPS Symposium 2010 Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a New Politics of Environment, Development and Social Justice Institute of Development Studies September 24 th 2010 Rob Byrne Research Fellow SPRU [email_address]
  • 2. Background, purpose and argument of the presentation
      • Based on DPhil, field research conducted July 2007 to July 2008
        • Not an assessment of PV as a solution to rural electrical service provision
        • Explanation of the different evolutions of the PV markets in Kenya and Tanzania
      • This presentation focuses on only some of the activities in the evolution of the Tanzanian photovoltaic (PV) market
      • I will attempt to describe and analyse the development and growth of the PV niche, from early donor-funded interventions based on experience in Kenya
      • I argue that the model transferred from Kenya did not understand the Tanzanian setting, which helps to explain its ‘failure’
      • Subsequent learning in Tanzania resulted in greater articulation of the niche – descriptively and connectively – and this helps to explain the recent ‘success’
  • 3. Some general background Source : World Bank African Development Indicators (2009)
    • Some PV activity in Tanzania up to early 1990s
      • A few PV suppliers in Dar es Salaam (e.g. BP)
      • Some market for telecoms systems, railways, vaccine refrigeration
      • Very few Solar Home Systems (SHSs) (perhaps a few hundred)
  • 4. Strategic Niche Management – some definitions
      • Following Berkhout (2006), and Eames et al . (2006):
      • Expectation : a socio-technical ‘target’ towards which actors can align themselves and their activities
      • Vision : s pecifies the means to achieve the socio-technical target or expectation
      • First order learning : “ how to improve the design, which features of the design are acceptable for users, and about ways of creating a set of policy incentives which accommodate adoption” (Hoogma et al . 2002:28).
      • Second order learning : results from the testing of fundamental assumptions about technology and context
      • Networks of actors : broad networks considered important
      • Institutions : the sociological understanding (norms, practices, policies, etc.)
  • 5. Expectations, visions, and first and second order learning Expectation 1 Expectation 2 Second-order learning First-order learning First-order learning ‘ Starting’ point
  • 6. Kenyan SHS market origins
      • Karamugi Harambee School installation (1984)
        • Harold Burris and Mark Hankins (ex-Peace Corps in Kenya) did the installation
        • Headmaster and teachers wanted systems for their homes
      • Burris marketed SHSs to HHs (wealthy ‘middle class’) around Mt. Kenya
      • Hankins looked to training technicians and writing about SHSs in Kenya
      • Hankins and Burris got USAID funding for PV projects in three schools (1985/86)
        • Installation and training, each day
          • Practical work installing systems; classroom-based sessions on theory
        • Many of the electricians became sales technicians for Burris
        • Nairobi PV suppliers employed some and later ‘poached’ others
      • After a regional workshop in Nairobi in 1992, Hankins (now as EAA) began a project with Oswald Kasaizi (KARADEA, north west Tanzanian NGO)
        • This became the KARADEA Solar Training Facility (KSTF)
  • 7. Transferring the model to Tanzania
      • KSTF was Sida-funded (1993)
        • PV technician training courses (CSC and others funded) – installations and classroom theory
        • About 200 technicians trained over ten-year period (East Africa)
        • KSTF tried to develop a market in Kagera region – no substantial success
      • EAA implemented other community centre and PV training projects, e.g.
        • Government district officers awareness workshop (1996)
        • Simanjiro Animal Health Learning Centre (1996)
        • Wasso Hospital (1997)
  • 8. Transferring the model to Tanzania
      • Similar outcomes
        • Group of technicians with basic PV installation skills
        • Raised awareness of PV for rural electrification
        • Little or no market stimulation; technicians returned home but
          • No resources
          • No PV suppliers
          • No clear market demand
      • But EAA was becoming established as a prominent PV actor in East Africa
  • 9. TaTEDO’s PV activities
      • TaTEDO (Tanzania Traditional Energy Development and Environment Organisation) had a PV system installed by Burris (around 1996/7)
      • PV project funded in late 1990s
        • PV Training courses in three regions (Hankins model), focussed on partner CBOs
        • First was in Dar es Salaam in May 2000, with stakeholder workshop
          • Tanzania Solar Energy Association (TASEA) created
        • Other courses recruited participants to TASEA
        • No market or project activity following courses, except among those already active in PV
        • Later courses focussed more on private sector actors (dealers and employees) and business training, and PV for commercial activities
        • Helped to get training courses officially recognised (VETA)
      • Worked with KSTF, TASEA, Burris, Umeme Jua (more below), and others
      • TaTEDO becoming established PV actor in Tanzania
  • 10. Free Energy Europe in Tanzania
      • Karlijn Arkesteijn, an intern at TaTEDO during 2000, did market research for Free Energy Europe (FEE)
        • European PV module manufacturer already selling in Kenya
        • Interested to sell in Tanzania
      • Arkesteijn mapped the PV actors in three regions
        • Interactions with each other
        • Sought their views on how the market could be developed
      • The research informed a proposal to the Dutch government to help fund a joint venture in Tanzania (DGIS contributed about EUR 600,000)
        • Aligned FEE’s objective to sell in Tanzania with Dutch government objective to promote sustainable energy services in developing countries
        • Umeme Jua created (2001) – FEE, TaTEDO and independent consultant
  • 11. Umeme Jua’s market development activities
      • Market studies using ‘EAA’ methodology
      • Identified ‘entrepreneurial’ retail based dealers in urban centres of ‘promising’ regions (where customers may have enough income)
      • Built a network of dealers and associated technicians
        • Trained dealers in selling PV; and technicians local to the dealers
          • Initial training based on Hankins model (through TASEA, TaTEDO)
          • Later adapted to dealers’ and technicians’ needs (short, frequent, in-situ)
      • Guaranteed supplies and offered terms depending on numbers sold
      • Demonstrated PV systems in public places (e.g. markets), advertised on radio (local stations found to be better than national)
      • Referred interest to local dealers and technicians
      • Experimented (unsuccessfully) with micro-finance
      • Hire purchase very successful (Tunakopesha, later a competitor)
  • 12. Donor-funded PV projects in Tanzania: instruments of energy policy
      • UNDP-GEF project in Mwanza region (2004)
        • Initial design adjusted following consultation with TaTEDO, UJ and others
        • Strong similarity to UJ approach but with explicit policy lobbying
          • Private sector capacity building
          • Raising awareness
          • Enhancing affordability
          • Replication
      • Sida-MEM project in three regions: Tanga, Morogoro and Iringa (2005)
        • Initial design adjusted following consultations (UNDP-GEF, UJ, etc.)
        • Strong similarity to UJ approach but, like UNDP-GEF, including a policy dimension
          • Business development services
          • Networking support (TASEA)
          • Raising awareness
          • Replication to other regions
  • 13. Market outcomes and niche status
      • Gradually (over 2 to 3 years), “the numbers began to get interesting” (van der Vleuten 2008, former manager of FEE)
      • In 2007, an estimated 285 kWp of modules were sold (could be anything from 5000 to 15,000 systems) – a 57% increase from the previous year
      • Price per watt-peak fell from USD 12.07 (2006) to USD 9.85 (2007)
      • In 2008, the PV market was estimated to be worth USD 2 million
        • Sida-MEM project estimated it to be higher (more than USD 2.8 million)
      • Umeme Jua turned over USD 1 million in 2007-2008
      • Highly interconnected niche (particularly through TASEA)
      • Wide range of actors involved
      • Growing links to other niches and regimes
  • 14. Summary analysis
      • Dominant overall expectation shifted subtly
        • From rural electrification using PV systems (development and business opportunities)
        • To PV market (development co-benefits)
      • Adjusted main direction of learning
        • Instead of learning how to bring PV electrical services to the poor
        • It became how to maximise sales of PV modules
      • Achieved by articulating the PV niche (descriptively and connectively)
        • Demonstrating PV to users, understanding user preferences, business practice and needs
        • Building broad networks of actors including connections to actors ‘outside’ the niche
      • Articulating the niche helped to lower risks and the flow of information
      • Rural electrification expectation persists – micro-finance experiments, etc.
  • 15. Conclusions
      • Huge effort to develop the market for PV in Tanzania
        • Not a simple story of private sector led development
        • Public sector funds helped to lower some of the risks
          • Facilitated experimentation and learning to develop business models
          • Private sector replicated
        • The poor have not benefited directly, although effort continues
      • PV is expensive but electrical services are in high demand
      • What does this imply for other energy service technologies?
        • For example, is it realistic to expect that clean cooking technologies can be diffused through private markets when direct burning of biomass is cheap and simple?