According to a new study published by GOGLA (Global Off-grid Lighting Association), nearly 94% of the households surveyed reported an improvement in their quality of life after buying a solar home system (SHS).
The Powering Opportunities in South Asia research funded by UK AID and conducted by Altai Consulting titled, surveyed 949 households in South Asia, primarily including rural customers from the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh.
The published report states that Indian households with a solar home system report significant improvements to their quality of life as people feel safer and their children have more time to study. Solar systems also provide a substantial boost to income for one in 10 owners who are using their solar systems to light and power businesses and to unlock more work hours.
The report by GOGLA also stated that people who were surveyed also reported 90% of positive impacts in the areas of safety and 66% in education.
According to the company’s statement, the customers also use their solar systems for income-generating activities or to increase their working hours, resulting in increased earnings. 11% of households surveyed reported an increase in income levels by up to ₹4,697.55 (~$66)/ month on an average to their solar home system.
“A total of 12% reported increased economic activity as they can work more or use their system for business,” the company stated.
Viraj Gada, GOGLA’s India, Regional Representative, believes that the ‘Powering opportunities in South Asia’ report show that, even with the impressive strides made by the Indian government to increase grid access, small-scale solar continues to have an important role for Indian households.
“Although a majority of customers are using their solar home systems as a back-up to the central grid, the additional energy security and power the systems provide are boosting the quality of life and unlocking economic opportunities for those in rural and remote areas,” he said.
Speaking with Mercom, Gada further informed that the number of households surveyed in UP and Assam together was more than 800.
Talking about the reasons for the increase of small-scale solar home systems despite the government’s push towards grid access, he explained that solar house systems had become the number one back-up source for electricity despite having electricity from the main grid. Small businesses that run on electricity, such as a photocopy machine or a juice shop, can also earn extra money with the help of these systems.
Gada also highlighted a few findings that demonstrate ways in which solar home systems can lend support to the off-grid solar industry:
- 12% of households undertake more economic activities with solar home systems
- 94% of households report their quality of life has improved since purchasing the system
- 66% of customers say their children have more time to do their homework
- 11% of households generate additional income once they purchase an SHS
- Households create an additional $66 per month on average among households generating income.
- Solar systems help households to work more hours or start new activities. Overall, this additional work translates into four full-time equivalent jobs per 100 solar systems sold
- For 61% of households, a solar system is a back-up to the grid
Recently, Mercom reported on how solar energy projects are providing rural economies with new sources of revenue, employment and business opportunities, product and policy innovation, capacity building, and, most notably, affordable energy.
Earlier, it was reported that in a study published by GOGLA that the total number of people accessing solar power increased with a better market penetration of solar off-grid products.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.