Still too expensive!

While not everyone who lives in rural villages is poor, the majority of people would not be able to afford the up-front for a system of this type.  Enter the last technology: PAYG.

Pay-As-You-Go plans are growing in popularity as a way to allow rural households to afford more expensive equipment such as solar home lighting systems without paying the entire cost up-front.  Compared to a solar-home lighting system, the solar electric cooking system is more expensive, but what would a monthly cost be for a system?

With an upfront cost to cover materials, assembly, installation and supplier markup and assuming that the battery, electronics and cookstove would need to be replaced after six years, the average monthly cost for a system over a six-year life would be $25-30. (Note that the primary energy source – the PV module – will last 25 years.)  If the battery was doubled in size, it would raise the system cost to $2,200 but the battery would last ten years because of reduced cycling, and the monthly cost would remain the same.

Studies have shown that four-person households in Haiti and Rwanda spend $15-25 per month on charcoal, so the monthly cost of a solar-powered induction cooktop is easily within the range of affordability, especially if there was some sort of outside financial assistance.

Subsidies (both governmental and non-governmental) have already been used to support clean cookstove initiatives which merely reduce indoor air pollution and deforestation, so it is reasonable to look for some sort of financial assistance to help with this technology.

Doug

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