Monday, April 11, 2011

Off Grid Solar Home System (SHS): Know why it is the most Viable Solution to Electricity Problems in Developing Countries

Off Grid Solar Home System (SHS) is a low level power source, which to some determines the difference between living in poverty and abundance. Not having electricity is more of a rule rather than an exception in rural areas of developing countries.

As such, this situation is accepted by the people who continue to mire in poverty. They have never experienced the benefits of electricity that can uplift their way of living. The introduction of solar power is a most welcome change as what some developing countries are finding out.

What is Off- Grid Home Solar System (SHS)?

SHS is a low level solar power source which consists of a solar panel, charge controller, a lead acid battery and several lights. It typically operates at a rated voltage of 12 V and provides power for lights, radio and low power appliances for about 3 to 5 hours a day. It is the simplest and an independent electricity source for the family.

Advantages of SHS

1. It fulfills the basic electricity needs such as lighting, radio and mobile phone chargers
2. SHS provides lighting for home study or evening classes, or working after dark.
3. Users enjoy improved health as a result of reduced exposure to indoor air pollution from
kerosene lamps.
4. SHS reduces greenhouse gas emissions by replacing conventional energy resources
(kerosene, paraffin candles, gasoline, dry cell batteries).
5. It is affordable for rural households via microfinance schemes on a saved cost basis.
6. SHS have low operation and maintenance costs.
7. More than one million SHS have been installed worldwide as of 2008

Experiences with SHS

1. Preparing the ground for SHS project implementation is an important component. The people must know the benefits the project will bring, the assistance of the government and other private sectors and their responsibility to make SHS sustainable.

2. SHS projects are best initiated by the local government and not for profit international organizations. At the earliest stage, private sector participation must come in with diminishing reliance on government subsidies. Local dealers must be encouraged to make direct sales to cash paying customers and develop link to credit institutions.
3. SHS must be developed as a win-win business proposition bringing profits to local dealers, established benefits for the rural families and employment for SHS service men. Financing must also make modest profit from the investment. Establishing the above components will make SHS sustainable.
4. Experience showed that it is advantageous if the whole SHS can be sold or financed as one package
5. Efficient after-sales service of SHS is important. Failure in providing this service will reflect on loan payments. It will be difficult to collect on SHS that doesn’t work.

Conventional electricity power grid for remote rural areas is too costly for developing countries to install. Off Grid Solar Home System is a practical approach that can provide benefits from solar energy. It’s not only a viable solution; it’s something that makes good sense.

Helping the third world countries build Off Grid Solar Home System is good for them . . . it makes life better . . . it creates a clean environment . . . its good for humanity.

We invite you to visit our Informative Solar Article page for more practical tips, simplified application guide and established solar benefits.

Author’s Box
Jacinto Demonteverde, Jr., the owner, is a strong advocate of solar power adoption. He writes practical articles to keep established and prospective solar users well informed. Visit him at: You are welcome to republish or reprint this article free of charge provided the content remains unchanged including the Author’s Box. No permission is needed.


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