Electricity is a critical need for the rural poor in developing countries. Often this need is met with disposable batteries. This results in high cost and problems with disposal. For example it was recently reported that an isolated rural village in West Africa with a population of 770 uses more than 21,000 disposable batteries per year and that purchase of these batteries accounts for 20-40% of household expense. As a result many organizations are seeking way to meet the need for village energy. This paper presents a case study of one such experience. In this study the efforts to meet the lighting needs of a cluster of eight rural villages with a population of approximately 8,000 people are discussed. A key aspect of this discussion is the challenge of creating a continuing and sustainable village lighting solution. In this case the technology chosen to implement a lighting system was a distributed microgrid managed locally in each village. The success of this lighting grid has been in large part due to the continuing support of the local micro-grid system both financially and through continued engagement to maintain and upgrade the micro-grid systems.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/doug_mccorkle/8/