Mini-grids and renewable energy in rural Africa: How diffusion theory explains adoption of electricity in Uganda
2015 (English)In: Energy Research & Social Science, Special Issue on Renewable Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Contributions from the Social Sciences, Vol. 5, 45-54 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
With diffusion theory as the point of departure, this study analyses the factors that influence the adoption of renewable electricity from individual households’ perspectives. The analysis is based on a case study provided by a Swedish energy service company operating in rural Uganda. The company distributes electricity to rural households via a mini-grid powered by a biomass gasification system. Three critical dimensions are identified to be crucial for adoption: technical, economic, and social. First, there is an emphasis on the relative advantages of the new technology. Second, there are economic requirements regarding a viable financial system for adopters, especially in such a low-income market. Third, the social dimension is critical, particularly the importance of foreign firms collaborating with local actors. We further suggest that a lack of understanding of local communities can lead foreign companies to fail in diffusion attempts. While we focus on Uganda, the results of our research are highly relevant for foreign actors who attempt to penetrate rural markets in developing countries in general.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015. Vol. 5, 45-54 p.
Africa; biomass; household; low-income market; renewable energy; rural electrification
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-161216DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2014.12.014ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84923265058OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-161216DiVA: diva2:794060
QC 201503132015-03-102015-03-102015-05-18Bibliographically approved