As an alternative source of off-grid electric power, solar home systems (SHS) stand out above all other options (e.g., wind, hydro, geo-thermal, tidal systems) because of their wide-scale potential at latitudes less than 45° north or south of the Equator where daily solar irradiance is more constant throughout the year and where the bulk of the Third World’s population live. A questionnaire-based survey study was carried out in a rural area of Bangladesh to ascertain the impacts of SHSs on the lives of the rural population. The installation of an SHS was found to improve the comfort and living standard of rural dwellers. Easier access to TV, radio, cellphone, and the Internet helped the rural population become part of a more global culture. More attractive down-payment and installment package options will allow poor target groups to adopt this system. The standard of SHS components and after-sales service should be improved to ensure sustainably and popularity among the mass population for at least 10 years at minimal cost to the consumer. Our findings can also help policymakers adopt more SHS-friendly policies to further the interests of inhabitants of rural areas that are not connected to the grid.
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