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Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1825; doi:10.3390/su9101825

Rural Electrification Efforts Based on Off-Grid Photovoltaic Systems in the Andean Region: Comparative Assessment of Their Sustainability

1
Institute for Sustainability Governance, Leuphana University Lüneburg, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
2
Department of Physics, Universidad Santiago de Chile, Santiago 9170124, Chile
3
Department of Mechanics, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Valparaíso 2340000, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helmut Haberl
Received: 21 August 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Abstract

In this paper, we comparatively assess the sustainability of rural electrification efforts based on off-grid solutions in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. Our assessment considers four dimensions of sustainability (institutional, economic, environmental, and socio-cultural). We found that Ecuador and Chile have consistently failed to ensure mechanisms for the operation and maintenance of the deployed off-grid systems, which has made these solutions in poor Chilean and Ecuadorian communities inevitably unsustainable. Although Peru has adopted a cross-tariff scheme, the Peruvian case shows that ensuring the funding of off-grid PV solutions is not enough. Peruvian officials appear to be unaware of the importance of local participation (local values and lifestyles are constantly disregarded) and most of the projects have been designed without the participation and engagement of the communities, which has often led to project failures and payment defaults. However, although each country has its particular challenges, we found that the three Andean countries have consistently neglected the importance of strong formal institutions with a flexible and decentralized structure, which in turn significantly compromised the rural electrification effort in these countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: off-grid PV systems; rural electrification; developing countries; sustainable energy; Andean countries off-grid PV systems; rural electrification; developing countries; sustainable energy; Andean countries
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Feron, S.; Cordero, R.R.; Labbe, F. Rural Electrification Efforts Based on Off-Grid Photovoltaic Systems in the Andean Region: Comparative Assessment of Their Sustainability. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1825.

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